Prayers of Penitence: David
Preface: “Who is a God like Thee, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Mic. 7:18, 19, NASB).
Growing up in a Christian environment is one of a child’s’s most beautiful blessings. Many of us, however, tend to grow up as adults keeping Christian concepts of right and wrong under the same classification as mathematical or undoubted physical concepts such as gravity. In other words, we become so familiar with the concept that we don’t discuss it or analyze it any further. Can we really enjoy God’s mercy and forgiveness in a comfortable Christian setting? Do we have to wait until we do something terrible to raise a prayer of penitence to the Lord?
King David experienced the pain of sin and its consequences in a public and personal manner. He was a man of God, blessed with talents and responsibilities. He knew that the Lord was guiding his steps. He knew about God’s promises of wisdom and prosperity. He knew, as all of us do, that there were concepts of right and wrong to chose from. Unfortunately, all this knowledge did not prevent him from falling and hurting himself and those he loved.
Like David, I’ve had moments of truth and pain that have helped me understand the joy of Christian life. For the last couple years, I have gone through a roller coaster of good and bad decisions and consequences, while taking for granted Christ’s forgiveness and intercession. “Christ waits before the throne for our prayers. He is waiting for us to surrender our will, to cease our rebellion and come back to God in deep penitence . . . the Father will forgive us for our influence in causing others to disregard the law of Jehovah.”1 Don’t wait until something major happens in your life to surrender to Christ. Make prayers of penitence a daily experience and let the Spirit fill you with the joy of a cleansed heart. No matter the circumstances or people’s judgments, Christ can change your heart.
“As you confess your sins daily, as you repent of your iniquity, Christ takes your guilt upon himself, and imputes to you his own righteousness and power. At the very first expression of penitence, Christ presents the humble suppliant’s petition before the throne as his own desire in the sinner’s behalf. He says, I will pray the Father for you. What an experience may be attained at the footstool of mercy, which is the only place of sure refuge. You may discern the fact that God is back of his promise, and not dread the issue of your prayers, or doubt that Jesus is standing as your surety and substitute.”2 Don’t wait for the painful results of sin. Instead, lift up a prayer of penitence and rejoice in God’s freedom of spirit and salvation!
1. Ellen G. White, The Upward Look, p. 155.
2. White, The Youth’s Instructor, January 16, 1896.