Today we will move on to the second ingredient in our daily prayer diet: Confession. However, first spend a few moments in the first ingredient: Adoration. Clear your mind of distractions, focus on who God is and what he is like, and present your thoughts to him.
Confession is the most important way to express our dependence on God, because our greatest need is our need for our sin to be forgiveness. A healthy prayer life should include daily confession.
But can we really be sure that God accepts our prayers of confession? Perhaps you sometimes struggle with that doubt. After all, our prayers are so weak and shallow. We don’t pray nearly enough, and when we do, we get easily distracted. Our prayers seem half-hearted and we feel like hypocrites. So we can easily doubt whether our prayer is good enough.
But Paul Miller points out that prayer works exactly the same way as the gospel itself. Of course your prayer isn’t good enough! But God doesn’t accept our prayers because they are good enough; he accepts them joyfully and completely, because Jesus is perfect. Miller says:
We look at the inadequacy of our praying and give up, thinking something is wrong with us. God looks at the adequacy of his Son and delights in our sloppy, meandering prayers. (A Praying Life, p. 55)
Being weighed down by our own sin and weakness can make us think we have to get things together before we come to God in prayer. But the gospel says: “Come as you are!” Or as Paul Miller says again:
Come overwhelmed with life. Come with your wandering mind. Come messy. (A Praying Life, p. 32)
Daily confession should be a conscious time of remembering and naming the ways in which you ignored and disobeyed God during the previous day, not hiding it, but being honest with the one who sees our inmost thoughts (Ps. 32:5; 139:1-2). But as you prepare to do that today, put out of your mind the idea that God might not hear or accept your prayer. Listen again to the wonderful, simple promise of the gospel:
If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 Jn 1:9)
Now think about the past day (or week or year). Bring your sins to God. Come messy, and ask for forgiveness in Jesus’s name. Then ask God for his help in saying “no” to those sins today. If you want an even deeper sense of comfort in the gospel, read Hebrews 10:19-23.