Does Repentance Have a Regular Place in Your Prayer Time?

Repentance is a word church folks prefer to avoid. While it’s true we want to be reminded of grace, love, mercy, forgiveness, spiritual cleansing, and wholeness, we tend to rush toward the words that feel good and forget about the difficult, but necessary word which opens the door to the rest.

The act of repentance is most often discussed when we are inviting people to believe in Jesus Christ. He will forgive every fault, wipe away every failure, and wash away the stains of our selfish living. All we have to do is repent and believe.

We need to be reminded how repentance is not meant only for our initial salvation, the day we drew near to God and believed in His Son, Jesus. Repentance is God’s call for us, every single day.

Jesus Taught Daily Repentance

Maybe you’ve heard of The Lord’s Prayer. When Jesus’ Disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray, He gave a model prayer Christians have repeated for centuries. Here we find the most basic example of how repentance should be part of our regular prayers.

“And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors …”
(Matthew 6:12, NIV)

Many of us learned these words when we were children. Some have heard them for decades. Yet repentance has fallen out of our prayers.

3 Reasons for Regular Repentance

It can be a hard challenge to accept, but we have to make repentance regular and specific, as often as we go before the Throne of Grace. Here are three reasons this kind of repentance is good for us.

1) Sin occurs more often than we admit it.

Chances are, even if you just gave your life to Jesus Christ this morning, you have sinned today. You looked at something you weren’t supposed to. You didn’t mean to, but you overheard or repeated a juicy tidbit. You cut in line, told a “white lie,” cheated to get out of trouble, or acted just plain selfishly.

Sin is still part of our lives. It knocks at our door all day long. No one is impervious to temptation, and God already knows when we fail. Why not repent and clear the path between our lives and Him?

[Tweet “#God already knows when we sin. Why not #repent and clear the path back to Him?”]

2) When we are reminded of specific sin, we should confess them specifically.

Too often we repent in generalities. “God, forgive me of everything bad. Amen.” This is a good tactic when we first come to Jesus, but as we continue to face sin every day, we need to be specific about our failures before God.

[Tweet “As we face #sin every day, we need to be specific about our failures before #God. #repentance”]

Garbage bags come in all kinds of colors now. There are some people who won’t use the clear bags because they don’t want people to know what is in their trash.

In the age of identity theft, I can understand that. But we have to be careful we don’t lump all of our sins in a big bag and ask God to forgive us for all of our sins, without taking the time to deal with the individual issues in our lives.

3) Repentance reminds us of our need for Jesus.

We all need Jesus. At no point in life do we stop needing Jesus. At the moment of faith when our hearts were changed and the Holy Spirit cleansed our sins because of our inward brokenness, we knew we needed Jesus. Yet the longer we live as Christians, they more likely we are to forget that need.

[Tweet “The longer we live as Christians, they more we forget our need for #Jesus.”]

Who can ask Jesus for His forgiveness without recognizing their need for Him? Only He is able to forgive us, and He does it freely. All we have to do is believe.

Maybe you’ve heard it said how new believers have a fire for Jesus, and many of us wish we could find a way to get it back. One of the keys is to employ repentance in our lives. It takes us back to the foot of the Cross where we recognize our efforts, intellect, resources, and influence are not enough. We need Jesus.

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The next time you go before the Throne of Grace, be specific about your repentance. Don’t just throw sin down the garbage chute. Deal with it.

When you repented for salvation, only the sins committed up to that exact moment were forgiven in your life. God offers you forgiveness every day. Embrace it with regular, specific repentance.

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22–23, NIV)

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16, NIV)