Week 21: “Confess Your Sins to One Another”
Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
Matthew 5:23 Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
The prayer of a righteous man or woman is powerful and effective. But who is righteous? It is likely you do not feel like you are, but being righteous is not being perfect, it is being forgiven. When you have confessed your sins to God and to others, you are forgiven and, therefore, righteous. Elijah was a man of powerful and effective prayers, but he was certainly not a perfect man. He was, in fact, just like you. This fact is both encouraging and challenging. It is encouraging in that there is no good reason why you cannot experience powerful and effective prayers. It is challenging because to experience that kind of praying requires keeping short accounts with God and with others. Look again at the order of events James gives here: confess your sins to one another, be healed, and pray powerfully and effectively. This is no magic formula, but it is a description of how important it is to confess our sins to one another. Paul wrote that the “only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love” (Gal. 5:6). Obviously, if we sin against one another, then love would require that we confess that sin and do all we can to make things right. As a result, our faith is seen in our love to one another. Our love to one another is seen in continually keeping short accounts with each other. Unconfessed sin between you and someone else is a hindrance to effective prayer. Jesus said that if you are offering your gift to God but remember you have sinned against another person, then you are to stop what you are doing, go make things right with the person, and only then can you offer your gift to God. If you are not right with others, it will not be possible for you to be right with God. Prayer is conversation with God, talking with him about things that are important to you both. If you are at odds with another person, God is interested in that situation, not in the other things you might want to talk to him about. You will find he has a one-track mind when it comes to these things. Go. Confess your sins to each other. Then come back to God and you will find your conversations with him are powerful and effective.
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.