Confess (Family Devotional)
By Pastor Ruttan
We know that prayer is important. We say The Lord’s Prayer, we say prayers of gratitude, and we ask for help. But another kind of important prayer is a prayer of confession.
This is when we confess (tell) our sins to God, say we’re sorry, and ask for his forgiveness. This can be hard because it’s not very fun to think about our sins. Sins are things we think, say or do which go against what God wants. However it’s important for us to be honest with ourselves and with God.
This week’s family devotional comes with four options which are meant to help you with your prayers of confession.
I’ll list the options, and then provide an explanation for each underneath:
Option 1: Daily prayers
Option 2: Paper Wad Sins
Option 3: Destroying Sin
Option 4: Personalizing Psalm 51
OPTION 1: DAILY PRAYERS
Discuss how sin is thinking, saying or doing something that goes against what God wants. Give some examples. During your daily prayers, include a time of silence to confess your sins to God. After explain how because of what Christ has done for us on the cross, God forgives us our sin.
OPTION 2: PAPER WAD SINS
Get 30 pieces of paper. Brainstorm sins (things we think, say or do that go against what God wants), and write them on the paper. (One sin per piece of paper.) Then, divide a room down the middle with masking tape or painter’s tape. Put some people on one side, and the rest on the other side. Give each side 15 pieces of the crumpled paper. Tell everyone that their job is to get the paper wads (the “sins”) all to the other side. Play for four minutes and time yourselves! At the end, see who “has” the most sins. Have fun with it.
At the end, discuss how by ourselves it is impossible to get rid of all our sins. Only God can do that. Read 1 John 1:9 NLT (written by the apostle John) which says, “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” It means that if we confess (tell) our sins to God and ask for forgiveness, he gives it to us! He will “cleanse us” from them and give us peace and eternity with God. It’s a free gift that we can’t earn on our own.
OPTION 3: DESTROYING SIN
1. Discuss this Bible verse Romans 6:23 NLT which says “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” This was written to the Christians in ancient Rome by the apostle Paul. It means that when we sin, what we get back in return (what he calls “wages”) is separation from God and death! But there’s good news. There is a “free gift” from God through Jesus which is “eternal life.”
2. Have each person record their responses to these two questions:
a. What did I do today that God would not have liked?
b. What did I do today that wasn’t very loving to someone?
This could include writing or drawing a picture.
When everyone is done, find a creative way to destroy what everyone has written or drawn. This symbolizes the cleansing of sin. You could make a (safe) backyard fire, use a paper shredder, etc. You could even write your answers on toilet paper and then flush them down the toilet!
3. Read 1 John 1:9 NLT which says, “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” This was written by the apostle John. It means that if we confess (tell) our sins to God and ask for forgiveness, he gives it to us! He will “cleanse us” from them and give us peace and eternity with God! This is someone we are unable to do by ourselves.
OPTION 4: PERSONALIZING PSALM 51 (for older ages; print out this section)
Psalm 51:1-15 (NLT) was written by King David after he had sinned. Read through the psalm (reprinted below), filling in the blanks where indicated.
Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
In what ways is God loving?
Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
List some of the ways you have sinned against God? Be honest:
For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
and your judgment against me is just.
For I was born a sinner—
yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
But you desire honesty from the womb,
teaching me wisdom even there.
Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—
now let me rejoice.
Why does sin take joy away from us?
Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
In your own words, describe what a “clean heart” is, or what a “loyal spirit” is:
Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
Then I will teach your ways to rebels,
and they will return to you.
Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves;
then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.
Unseal my lips, O Lord,
that my mouth may praise you.
What reasons do you have to praise God?