Yesterday we remembered Jonah’s 8 word message that was used to change the course of one of the most influential cities in the world. When the people of Nineveh heard Jonah’s words they accepted them as words from God. The king traded his royal robe for threads of brokenness and mourning. The people repented and fasted. God relented.
I was reminded of another prayer of repentance that I heard a couple months ago. It moved me. I wanted to share it with you. The prayer is from David Henderson, pastor at University City Fellowship. This is his prayer:
God you declare through your word
Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.
God so many times as followers of you we are guilty of looking at all that is wrong with the world and placing blame everywhere else but on us.
I come before you today as a representative of the pastors and churches in our area – confessing to you — our lack of humility as churches and church leaders – God we are so prideful about our gatherings, prideful of our structures, prideful of our leaders and prideful of our programs – and our pride is most evident in our dis-unity and in the ways we compare ourselves to each other and seek to build our individual churches instead of truly building your kingdom. We come before you as churches and pastors and humbly admit that our world is broken, hurting and suffering and it is our fault that they do not see you for who you clearly are.
God we are here praying to you – because you are the only One who actually has the power to not only change our world, BUT change us. We pray to you because our hope is not in the next great vision, the next great leader, or the next great ministry, BUT our hope is completely in you, and in your power to transform a human heart, a church and a world for your glory.
God, We are here today seeking your face. Seeking what is best and truly hoping that your will would be done here in Cabarrus county as it is done in heaven. We are seeking your righteousness and your goodness. We are seeking Your Spirit’s movement and power.
I pray that you would help us to turn from our wicked ways – that we would value faith over comfort, risk more that security, weakness over strength, serving more than being served, giving more than collecting, compassion more than sacrifice, hope more than despair, love more than hatred, and grace more than fairness.
So hear our prayers and move in us and among us. Forgive us Father for our sins – intentional and unintentional. And RESTORE US God as a force for goodness in this world. God give us men and women
Who don’t love the world more than You, who don’t care if they make much money, who don’t care if they own a house, who don’t need recent styles, who don’t care if they get famous, who don’t expect that life should be comfortable and easy, who don’t feed their minds on TV each night, who don’t measure truth by the latest fad, book or political agenda, who don’t get paralyzed by others’ disapproval, who don’t return evil for evil, who don’t hold grudges, who don’t gossip, who don’t twist the truth, who don’t brag or boast, who don’t criticize more than praise, who don’t eat too much or exercise too little;
But give us men and women
who are utterly consumed with a passion for you, who are filled with the Holy Spirit,
who strive to know the depth of Christ’s love, who are crucified to the world and dead to sin, who are purified by the Word and addicted to righteousness, who are solid in understanding the Scriptures, who are broken by the awareness of sin, who are amazed by free grace, who are stunned into humble silence by your glory, who are persevering constantly in prayer, who are ruthless in self-denial, who are fearless in public witness,
who are tough in standing for the truth, who are tender in touching hurting people, who visit the widow and orphan in their distress, who value and protect life – no matter what the situation, who are passionate about reaching the people who have no church, who are keepers of all their promises – especially their marriage vows, who are content with what they have, who are patient and kind and grateful when life is hard. And who love supremely
We ask this all in the name that is above every other name – the name of Jesus Christ, amen.