6 Prayers of Repentance

In chapter 26 of Soul Physicians, I outline a biblical theology of putting off the old manner of life (compare Ephesians 4:17-19). I embed within that theology a “Prayer of Repentance” related to each of six areas of our spiritual life: 

  • Our Relationship to God
  • Our Relationship to Others
  • Our Relationship to Ourselves
  • Our Rational Beliefs/Mindsets
  • Our Volitional Behaviors/Motivations
  • Our Emotions 

Today’s post shares these six prayers. 

A Prayer of Relational Repentance: My Spiritual Relationship to God

“Father, I come home to You. I confess as sin my false lovers. I confess as sin living like the old person that I used to be. I confess as sin my spiritual adultery. I acknowledge to You and to myself that my false lovers are horrible lovers and that my pursuit of them is ugly and putrid. How foolish of me to ever believe that anyone but You could ever satisfy the longings of my soul. How shameful. How disrespectful. Forgive me my relational sin. I acknowledge that You alone are my Supreme Good. I acknowledge that You alone are gracious and compassionate. I return to You as my Forgiving Father. I return to Your Son as my Worthy Groom. I return to Your Holy Spirit as my Inspiring Mentor. I love You, Lord. Renew my vision of You as a totally competent and totally good God—boundless in holy love.” 

A Prayer of Relational Repentance: My Social Relationships to Others

“Father, I confess as sin my living for self, loving self. I will put off shepherding myself and focus on shepherding others. I reject all the self sins: self-sufficiency, self-promotion, self-protection, selfishness, self-centeredness. I confess as sin my cruel, harsh, manipulative, demanding, shaming, blaming, maiming way of treating others. Most of all, I confess as sin how far I’ve moved from reflecting You and Your radically other-centered Trinitarian existence. I am putting off the flesh, the characteristic ways I used to relate and I’m putting on the Spirit, the new me created to relate like You.”

 A Prayer of Relational Repentance: My Identity in Christ

“Father, I’ve been so like Adam and Eve. Running. Hiding. Defensive. Playing dress up. All because I don’t believe You are who You say You are—the Forgiving Father. What sin! I put off my shame identity. I reject my sense of abandonment, ruin, rejection, and condemnation. I put off my futile attempts to quiet my inner restlessness. Instead, I rest in You. I rest in who I am in Christ and to Christ. It’s ugly of me to try to beautify myself. It’s a slap in the face to Your Son, my Savior. Forgive me. Cleanse me. Enlighten me by Your Holy Spirit to grasp how much You love me and how loving You are.” 

A Prayer of Rational Repentance: Putting Off My Old Beliefs and Mindsets

“Father, I’ve finally come to my senses. I confess as sin my foolish belief that I can make life work apart from You. I’ve arrogantly suppressed the truth of how perfectly well You care for me. I’ve denied Your fatherly love for me. I’ve sinned against You by believing Satan’s (the False Seducer) smaller story, fleshly mindset that You are not my Supreme Good. I’ve allowed my view of reality to become filled with contemptuous images of You. I’ve allowed my mind to be squeezed into the mold of this temporal world, living according to the dominant plot theme of the earthly story. I’ve been like a deaf man straining to hear the Gospel story. I’ve denied the Cross. I return to You now repenting of these idols of my heart. Though I am not worthy in myself to be called Your child, by faith I claim my adoption in Christ. Thank You for forgiving me.”  

A Prayer of Volitional Repentance: Putting Off My Old Behaviors and Motivations 

“Father, I’ve sinned against You by walking in the way of the sinner, by following the self-centered pathway of _______. I must put off choosing compulsively and put on choosing courageously. I must put off the old enslaved pathways and put on my new free, empowering pathways. Help me to quit coddling, cuddling, pampering, and spoiling my flesh. Empower me to be ruthlessly fierce in rejecting it and nailing it to the Cross. Reveal my secret sins, show me the patterns that I’m blind to, help me to detect my fleshly pathways. I reject my fleshly inclinations, patterns, and character. I put on the new characteristic of _________. I reject my characteristic approach to life of _________ and by Christ’s resurrection power I replace it with my new manner of life.”      

A Prayer of Emotional Repentance: Putting Off My Old Mood States 

“Father, I’ve sinned against You by worshipping feelings instead of worshipping You. My current mood state of _______ exposes how desperately I’m trying to live without You. My failure to face my feelings expose my distrust in Your ability to care for me. My refusal to soothe my soul in You exposes my doubts about Your goodness. I put off my emotional duplicity replacing it, in the power of Your Spirit, with emotional integrity. I will face whatever I feel and bring it to You. I put off my emotional lasciviousness. I put off indulging my fleshly passions. I confess as sin my addiction to ___________. I recognize it for what it is: a symptom of the deeper disorder within me, a spiritual, relational, mental, willful disorder. Forgive me. Empower me to manage my moods for Your glory and the good of others.”  

The Rest of the Story

The Bible never tells us to put off without also telling us how God empowers us to put on the new person we are in and through Christ. Tomorrow we share six prayers of renewal. 

Join the Conversation

Which of the six prayers hits home the most for you today? How would you word your prayer in that area?

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