Specific Repentance

Many people believe (and I agree) that when we pray for God to bless others, our requests are more likely to be granted if we pray for specific blessings. Rather than “Father, bless Johnny today” we should pray “Father, help Johnny pass his math test and behave in the lunch room and remember to bring home his dirty sweat socks and feed the cat after school.”

The same principle holds true when we pray for forgiveness for ourselves. Instead of “Dear Father, forgive me for all of my sins today” we should pray “Dear Father, forgive me for snapping at my kids and for the name I called the driver of that black pick up and for criticizing my boss and for laughing at that crude joke I heard during the coffee break at work.”

Specific sins call for specific confession and repentance.

But what if no specific sins come to mind while we are praying? Then our prayers should be “Dear Father, show me the exact ways I disappointed you today. Make me aware of them so I can confess and repent. Give me the wisdom and strength to resist them tomorrow.”

Such prayers will no doubt prolong our prayer times. When we linger and allow the Holy Spirit to be bring specific sins to mind we are more likely to achieve intimacy with our God, which is the main purpose of prayer.