Repentance Starts with . . . Me!
I was meditating on Psalm 51 when I received a call from a friend asking, “How do you encourage true repentance in a teenager who’s been caught in several lies?” Funny, I had been thinking about repentance all morning–but the question running through my heart was . . . how can the church be compelled to repent?
Later in the day, a call came from another friend who was lamenting the comfortably “settled” complacency of the American church. We sighed heavy as we mulled over the lack of hunger for Christ, loss of urgency . . . mega churches spending mega bucks on mega church plants while poverty consumes children around the world . . . we grieved together with lots of questions, but few answers.
It seems to always come back to that word: repentance. And in order for true repentance to occur, we must first recognize and confess “I have sinned."
Praying for our nation really begins by praying for the church. And we can’t separate the “church” from the individuals who comprise her. Basically, in order for the nation to experience revival, repentance will have to occur–and this repentance must begin at the individual level–which is what we see happening in David’s life when we walk through his prayer in Psalm 51.
He opens with the confession “I have sinned.”
“Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgression . . . Against You, You only, I have sinned.”
Do you hear David’s cry of repentance? He wrote this Psalm after being confronted with his sin of adultery. It is one of his seven “penitential psalms” or psalms expressing repentance. He also cries out for the nation in the concluding verses of chapter 51, but only after thoroughly confessing his own need and recognizing his sin for what it was–a crime against God and His holiness.
Where do we need to start as we intercede for our nation? With you and me.
Father, forgive me for having a greater concern for myself than for your glory. Forgive me for the hard places of my heart. Lord Jesus, forgive me for venting emotions which hinder others from seeing You in me. Break me where I need greater humbling. Deepen my love for you. Open my eyes to see the hurting around me with Your eyes. Flood my heart with Your compassion.
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