Text: — Nehemiah 1:5-7 — 5 Then I said: “O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you. 7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses. [NIV84]
The Big Idea: Both “Positive & Negative Confession” need to be included in your prayers.
Many of my prayers contain either all praise or all self-loathing. The former I call “Positive Confession”: We confess who the LORD is and what He has done. Nehemiah calls Him “Awesome” and praises Him for keeping His covenant of Love (v. 5). The ‘self-loathing’ prayer can be beneficial when accompanied by a humble heart that realizes we are unworthy to come into the presence of a Holy God. This is what I call “Negative Confession,” but in a positive way….
Lifestyle worshipers, both aspects need to be included in our prayers. The “Positive Confession” of Who God is, what He has done, Who Christ is in us and Who we are in Him, are all critical aspects of this positive confession. No less important is what Nehemiah includes in his prayer (see vv. 6b-7), the “Negative Confession.” The LORD already knows we are unworthy. He knows the sins we have committed or omitted. He just wants us to admit it (the literal translation of ‘confess’).
With both these aspects included in our prayers, they make us available to humbly receive the LORD s grace. It transforms an “entitlement” attitude of “You owe me” into a humble attitude of deep, profound gratitude. Your thoughts.
Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts
— Matthew 7:11-12 (NIV)
— Proverbs 28:13 (NIV)
— 1 John 1:9 (NIV)
Heavenly Father, I praise You. You are a forgiving God, slow to anger and abounding in grace and mercy to those who humbly seek Your face. I confess I have not lived up to Your Holy standards. I ask You by the Lord Jesus’ Christ shed blood to forgive me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I humbly receive Your Grace and mercy in my time of need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.