May 17: Confession – Sins committed against others

As we’re progressing on our hour of prayer, we’re focusing on confession.

Some sins we need to seek God’s forgiveness for, while other sins we need man’s forgiveness for as well.

And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

Acts 24:16

Is there someone you need to seek forgiveness from?

Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Matthew 5:23-24

May 16: Confession – Self-interrogation

As we continue through our “Hour of Prayer” let’s continue building up our “Confession” time to a 12th minute of prayer.

The Revival We Need book by Oswald J Smith
The Revival We Need book by Oswald J Smith

Oswald J Smith wrote a book, The Revival We Need. In it he encourages the reader to ask himself if he is guilty of sin:

Now let us take our sins one by one and deal with each transgression separately. And let us ask ourselves the following questions. It may be we are guilty and God will speak to us.

Oswald J. Smith, The Revival We Need, pp. 63-65
  1. Have we forgiven everyone? Is there any malice, spite, hatred or enmity in our hearts? Do we cherish grudges; and have we refused to be reconciled?
  2. Do we get angry? Are there any uprisings within? Is it true that we still lose our tempers? Does wrath hold us at times in its grip?
  3. Is there any feeling of jealousy? When another is preferred before us does it make us envious and uncomfortable? Do we get jealous of those who can pray, speak and do things better than we can?
  4. Do we get impatient and irritated? Do little things vex and annoy, or, are we sweet, calm and unruffled under all circumstances?
  5. Are we offended easily? When people fail to notice us and pass by without speaking does it hurt? If others are made much of and we are neglected how do we feel about it?
  6. Is there any pride in our hearts? Are we puffed up, do we think a great deal of our own position and attainments?
  7. Have we been dishonest? Is our business open and above reproach? Do we give a yard for a yard and a pound for a pound? Are we honest in our statements. or do we exaggerate and thus convey false impressions?
  8. Have we been gossiping about people? Do we slander the character of others? Are we talebearers and busybodies?
  9. Do we criticize unlovingly, harshly, severely? Are we always finding fault and looking for the flaws in others?
  10. Do we rob God? Have we stolen time that belongs to Him? Has our money been withheld?
  11. Are we guilty of the sin of unbelief? In spite of all He has done for us do we still refuse to believe the promises of His Word?
  12. Have we committed the sin of prayerlessness? Are we intercessors? Do we pray? How much time are we spending on our knees? Have we crowded prayer out of our lives? 
  13. Are we neglecting God’s Word? How many chapters do we read each day? Are we Bible students? Do we draw our source of supply from the Scriptures? 
  14. Are we burdened for the salvation of souls ? Have we a love for the lost ? Is there any compassion in our hearts for those who are perishing ? 
  15. Have we failed to confess Christ openly? Are we ashamed of Jesus? Do we keep our mouths closed when we are surrounded by worldly people? Are we witnessing daily?
  16. Are our lives filled with lightness and frivolity? Is our conduct unseemly? Would the world by our actions consider us on its side?
  17. Have we wronged any one and failed to make restitution? Or, has the spirit of Zacchaeus possessed us? Have we restored the many little things that God has shown us?
  18. Are we worried or anxious? Do we fail to trust God for our temporal and spiritual needs? Are we continually crossing bridges before we come to them?
  19. Are we guilty of lustful thoughts? Do we allow our minds to harbor impure and unholy imaginations?

(These questions are also included in the Christ-Walk Journal, and The School of Biblical Evangelism)

For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.

Psalm 38:18

May 15: Confession brings mercy!

We’ve been building our “Hour of Prayer” one minute at a time:

Today, as we continue to look at confession, God says that this is not just you beating yourself up, this is how God demonstrates His mercy!

He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: 
but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

Proverbs 28:13

We see the two requirements to obtain mercy: confession & forsaking. Confession is declaring it to God – but how do we forsake?

Let’s go to Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:


Forsake

FORSA’KEverb transitive preterit tense forsook; participle passiveforsaken. See Seek .]

1. To quit or leave entirely; to desert; to abandon; to depart from. Friends and flatterers forsake us in adversity.

Forsake the foolish, and live. Proverbs 9:6.

2. To abandon; to renounce; to reject.

If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments – Psalms 89:30.

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath. Psalms 37:8.

3. To leave; to withdraw from; to fail. In anger, the color forsakes the cheeks. In severe trials, let not fortitude forsake you.

4. In scripture, God forsakes his people, when he withdraws his aid, or the light of his countenance.


Forsaking is not just abandoning – we must leave our sin, and cleave to God!

Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.

Isaiah 55:7

May 14: Hour of Prayer: Confession

As we jump back to the hour of prayer, we enter the 3rd section of the clock (If you look at the 12 hours on a clock – each hour can be a reminder for a different category of prayer!) [BTW – this clock idea of prayer comes from The Hour that Changes the World by Dick Eastman. But let’s quick review where we’ve been:

We’ve posted once for each minute – to give you ideas on how to stretch your prayer time with God. Now we enter the third “section” – confession – here’s something to stretch your prayer time into the 11th minute!

An awareness of our past failures especially tends to buffet the mind as we pray. Suddenly we feel hopelessly unworthy of offering our petitions. The devil has gained a victory and soon we stop praying altogether.

To combat these spiritual attacks we must take at face value all the promises of God concerning confession. “If we confess our sins,” declared the apostle John, “He [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). If unrighteousness renders our praying ineffective, then confession is the solution to the problem of sin-guilt in prayer.

The Hour that Changes the World by Dick Eastman

While you’re praying – search your heart for sin that needs to be confessed, so that there’s nothing between your soul and the Saviour!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlTvJpE3Yd4

As you’re looking for sin that needs to be confessed, browse the list of Biblical commands we’ve put together. We’ve found over 800 commands in the New Testament alone!

May 13: The Apostle’s Prayer: Interceding!

We’ve seen in the Apostle’s Prayer several elements: Praise, Scripture, Prophecy, Submission, and now Intercession!

[29] And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,

Acts 4:29

Notice they didn’t begin their prayer with asking God for something – they followed the pattern of the Lord’s prayer. Recognize who God is – then ask. That helps us not to ask amiss:

Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

James 4:3

As opposed to lustful prayers, this was a Biblical Prayer – commanded by Jesus!

[37] Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
[38] Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

Matthew 9:37-38

We can tell this was a Biblical prayer because this prayer was answered!

[31] And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Acts 4:31

The answer to prayer was not that the place was shaken, or that they were filled with the Spirit – that was the added blessings. Their prayer was that they would speak with boldness – and that was granted!

Let’s pray as well for power to speak God’s Word with boldness today!

May 12: The Apostle’s Prayer: Submitting to God’s Will

[27] For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
[28] For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

Acts 4:27-28

We’ve looked at the Apostle’s Prayer – calling us to Praise, Quoting Scripture, and Claiming Prophecy. Now – it’s submitting to God’s Will.

We looked at this last week – yielding to God. Like praying for God’s Kingdom, we can pray for God’s will as Jesus told us to:

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Matthew 6:10

If Herod, Pilate, Gentiles and Jews all did God’s predetermined will even though the Apostles didn’t understand at the time – how much more should we trust our Father’s Will?

Take some time to pray today and submit to His will.

Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

Luke 22:42

May 11: The Apostle’s Prayer: Claiming Prophecy!

We’re looking at the Apostle’s Prayer in Acts 4:24-30 for the last few days. We’ve realized we need to Praise, and Quote Scripture. Today – we can claim Prophecy!

[26] The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.
[27] For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,

Acts 4:26-27

The Apostles quoted Psalm 2:1 (we saw yesterday), and Psalm 2:2 – but they translated the word anointed (Hebrew), as Christ (Greek, “anointed”), and identified it as the Lord’s holy child, Jesus.

2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying,

Psalm 2:2

Our friend Jimmy DeYoung notes the prophetic implications of this passage:

What a powerful passage of scripture the Psalmist gives to us, actually a very prophetic passage of Scripture. In essence we are reading for today the order of the establishment of the Kingdom to be set up in Jerusalem. This will be an eternal Kingdom to be ruled over by the King of Kings, Jesus Christ.

http://devotional.prophecytoday.com/2013/08/psalm-26.html

The Apostles did not avoid difficult passages of Scripture, they were familiar with the prophecies and studied prophecy! They realized this chapter was the declaration of the coming Kingdom of Jesus – though they were arrested and persecuted – their King was coming back to institute a Kingdom that would never end!

13I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
14And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Daniel 7:13-14

This was how Jesus taught us to pray!

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Matthew 6:10

As we read thru the Bible, we can claim the prophecies of the Bible! Let’s praise our King!

May 10: The Apostle’s Prayer – Praying Scripture!

We looked yesterday at the first part of the Apostle’s Prayer – praising our Creator! Today we look at the next line in the Apostle’s Prayer – praying Scripture!

Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?

Acts 4:25

Notice that the apostle’s were quoting Scripture! They quoted in their prayer a couple verses (we’ll look at the second tomorrow) from David.

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

Psalm 2:2

They recognized that they were in a similar position – those who did not recognize the LORD were raging against the LORD.

We can pray the Psalms to God as well!

Having trouble sleeping?

I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.

Psalm 3:5

Persecuted?

O Lord my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me:

Psalm 7:1

In trouble?

The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee;

Psalm 20:1

May 9: The Apostle’s Prayer: Praise

We’re going to take a break from the clockwheel of prayer to look at the Apostle’s Prayer.

While at a church out of state, I heard the pastor preach on Acts 4 – but not about prayer. However, there is a prayer in Acts 4 that stuck out to me!

And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:

Acts 4:24
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Acts_of_the_Apostles_Chapter_4-11_(Bible_Illustrations_by_Sweet_Media).jpg

This was no ordinary prayer. Jesus was crucified and the disciples fled. But He rose again – and just weeks later Peter preached and 3,000 were saved! Peter healed a lame man at the gate of the temple! He started preaching and was arrested with John – yet 5,000 more were saved. Caiaphas who led the execution of Jesus decides to warn Peter and John and releases them. Peter and John went to the rest of the believers who were probably having an all night prayer meeting. After telling their account of being the first people arrested since the crucifixion, what do they do?

They pray!

We’re going to call this prayer the “Apostle’s Prayer” because we know at least two of the apostles prayed this – and likely all of them together prayed this prayer. We’ll also note the similarities between this and the Lord’s Prayer, and how we can pray like this!

And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:

Acts 4:24

Notice how they started – Praising the Lord! Similar to how the LORD taught us how to pray!

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Matthew 6:9

Notice the apostle’s also praised God for His Creative Power! For Creating the heavens:

National Park Service

For creating the earth:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Zebras_in_Hluhluwe%E2%80%93Imfolozi_Park.jpg

And the oceans and all that is therein:

Underwater Marine Life Animals Dolphins Aquatic

Let’s praise our Creator!

May 8: Yielding to His Authority

We’ve looked at how to Praise the Lord in prayer time, and for the last few days we’ve looked at waiting on Him:

I don’t like the idea of being under anyone’s authority. Abraham Lincoln is my hero – he was a self-made man, born in a log cabin he built with his own two hands!

We operate under God’s delegated authority!

For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.

Mark 13:34

Not only that – but we’re to submit to humans that God placed in authority!

Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

Romans 13:2

God commands us to submit ourselves to other humans!

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Ephesians 5:21


Its not as easy for others to see us submitting to the Lord. It’s a lot easier for others to see submission when we submit to other humans (whether it’s Nero, the President, your boss, or a supervisor you struggle to respect). God wants to use you as a picture of submission.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7

Interesting – submitting to God is tied to victory over the devil….

Let’s submit to God, and to those God told us to submit to, and yield our self-rule during our prayer time!