‘We have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.’ (v5) Daniel 9:1–6
Penitence is both sorrow for sins committed and a choice made to amend our way of life. It’s repentance, a change of mind. My challenge is that I sincerely repent but then even as I rise from prayer my mind seizes hold of an impure thought or a criticism of someone else. How frustrating and tiresome!
Yet what good news that God never tires of us, returning to repent and extending complete forgiveness to us. Daniel associates himself with the sins of the multitude, as we must. For only he who is without sin can cast aspersions! I am a sinner, so I can make no judgment on others’ behaviour. This would only be the odium of comparison.
There is no hierarchy of sin; it is, and forever remains, simply sin. Scripture reminds us that we’ve failed to listen and act upon information that would bring justice to many.
We too often choose to live proclaiming Christ whilst serving self. Perhaps it’s time to simply accept our common human condition and make confession on behalf of sinful humanity and plead for God’s forgiveness and deliverance in a world in serious trouble.
Like Daniel, let’s reject reasoned analysis, a balance of good against bad, and boldly plead for God’s forgiveness and deliverance. The world is in deep need of our prayer. Let’s acknowledge our part in the source of its ills before we appeal to God for its salvation.
Related Scripture to Consider: 2 Chron. 7; 1 John 1:8–10; Prov. 28:12–14; Matt. 3:7–12.
An Action to Take: Start and end each day with a prayer of repentance. When troubled by temptation and sin, turn to God, pray and run from the source of the temptation.
A Prayer to Make: ‘Lord, we’re proud and arrogant, as individuals, families, churches and nations. Yet, You’ve still blessed us. Forgive us for taking Your blessing for granted. Amen.’
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