In my small group we are doing a series on prayer, so I thought I would share a little bit about what I am learning! During this series, I have learned prayer practices such as intercessory prayer, praying a daily prayer over myself, repentance prayers, and praying for unbelievers.
I want to focus on repentance prayer and what the bible says about repenting. First, repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of action. It means to completely change direction. You may be thinking, if I’m already forgiven because of the work of Christ on the cross, why repent?
Why is Repentance Important?
Here are five truths that I have learned regarding the importance of repentance.
Repentance is important for experiencing the strength, graciousness, and compassion of God. Isaiah 30:15 and 18 says, “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength. But you would have none of it…Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He will rise up to show you compassion.” Let us repent of our sin and trust in the One who promises to never change, leave us, or forsake us. He is full of grace and compassion waiting to meet us where we are if we only turn to Him.
Repentance is important for successful prayer and to receive healing from God. James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous person can accomplish much.” God wants us to confess our sins to each other and pray for each other. James is encouraging us to depend on God through prayer because he hears our prayers.
Repentance is important for bearing fruit. Matthew 3:8 says, “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” Continually repent from sin in order to experience freedom from sin and see the fruit of righteousness in your life.
Repentance is important for becoming less burdened and getting lighter in Jesus. Matthew 11:28-29 says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Sin is heavy. Let us not be burdened by our own sin and confess it to God who is faithful and just to forgive. He will provide rest for our souls.
Repentance is important in order to experience cleansing and faithfulness. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God delights in forgiving His children! God does not retain His anger forever because He delights in mercy (Isaiah 55:7).
How to Practice Repentance
Now that you know why it is important to repent as a believer, the leaders of my small group shared the below practice on how to practice daily repentance. First, pray this Psalm over your life.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there is any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.”
Then, ask God for forgiveness over your sins. Thank God for His grace and mercy and forgiveness. Thank Jesus for paying for your sin on the cross. Ask the Holy Spirit to convict you, lead you in discernment of your sins and any unknown sins, and lastly, to lead you into repentance. Practice repentance daily for two weeks.
Reflection Questions on Repentance
Once you have practiced repenting daily for two weeks, reflect on the following questions.
1. What was it like to repent daily in a structured way?
2. What did you see of your own sin?
3. What did you experience as you confessed and repented?
4. What did you experience in terms of new ways of thinking/seeing/feeling/being?
I hope this repentance practice made you more aware of your own sin and more thankful for the work that Jesus did on the cross! Praise God!
“He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:10-12
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