How the Prayer of Confession Can Transform Us

With accountability comes healing and peace.

Posted in , May 16, 2022

Prayer of confession

One of the most powerful elements of worship at our church is the unison prayer of confession. As a community of faith we confess our sins, shortcomings and inability to fulfill our spiritual commitment to the Lord and others.

In one voice we acknowledge that we failed to live up to the commandment to love God with all our heart, mind and strength and to love our neighbor. The unison prayer of confession levels the spiritual playing field. We are all in the same place, in need of forgiveness and wholeness. We stand united before God and accountable for our actions and need for restoration.

Many times we move through life without stopping to think, reflect and measure how we have failed to live out our faith in ways that are pleasing to God and good for others. 

The prayer of confession is the pause button that allows us to review actions and words that miss the mark in how we live our faith. Saying “I am sorry” is one of the hardest admissions to make, even to God. Yet when we do, we heal, restore and renew our soul and mind. There is truth in the axiom “confession is good for the soul.” 

Author bell hooks in All About Love notes this about confession: 

“It allows us to be bear witness to our own trespasses, to those we miss the mark (a definition of the meaning of sinfulness). It is only as we recognize and confront the circumstances of our spiritual forgetfulness that we assume accountability.”

I like the way hooks uses “spiritual forgetfulness” to describe how our actions can miss the mark. Personal or collective prayer time offers a way to remember and consider that, to bring it to our attention.

She also mentions that in recognizing and confronting our “spiritual forgetfulness,” we assume accountability—a very important aspect of confession. We take responsibility for our “spiritual forgetfulness” in looking back but also in moving forward in grace. 

She adds, “In communion with the divine we can claim the space of accountability and renew our commitment to that transformation of spirit that opens the heart and prepares us to love.”

Yes, the prayer of confession is the work of God’s spirit in our hearts. It lays the foundation for each of us to grow in love toward God and others. After our confession the Spirit assures us that our sins are forgiven, and we are filled with peace.

Although the unison prayer of confession is not part of everyone’s worship experience, we can all incorporate a personal prayer of confession into our daily spiritual discipline. When we do, we will experience transformation and healing.

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