Confessing our sins is something we don’t often talk about in evangelical circles. But – confession is a wonderful cleansing practice. As I have been studying the life of David, I read Psalm 51 this morning. Psalm 51 was written after David committed adultery with Bathsheba and then had her husband murdered. In Psalm 51 David confesses and repents of his sin. Many times I think we may feel sorry for our sin because we get caught – and that’s embarrassing. But true confession begins when we feel godly sorrow over our sin and then respond to God’s holy love for us by confessing anything that has prevented us from enjoying His love completely. When we sin, we have a tendency to hide from God rather than responding to His pursuit of us. The classic example of this is Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. (Genesis 3:1-24) As soon as Adam and Eve sinned they hid themselves. Sin and shame prompt us to hide. Confession invites us to come out of hiding.
The prayer of Examen is a method of prayer developed by Ignatius of Loyola in the sixteenth century. He designed this prayer as a method to determine God’s will and to become more fully present to God’s movements in our lives. When you practice the prayer of examen you sit still, quiet your heart and ask the Holy Spirit to examine your life. (Psalm 139:23-24) If there are attitudes or actions in your life that are preventing your further growth the Holy Spirit will bring those to mind. Confess those areas and then celebrate the God’s grace in your life. He promises that if we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We don’t have to feel fearful to confess our sins. We simply express our sorrow over those areas that have hindered our walk with Christ and then receive HIs grace. I think of the prayer of examen kind of like taking a spiritual shower.
Try it and then I’d love to hear from you!