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Summary: ONLY WHEN WE ARE WILLING TO CONFESS IS GOD OBIGATED TO ANSWER OUR PRAYER!

PRAYER PART I: A MATTER OF CONFESSION

NEHEMIAH 1: 1 – 11

FEBRUARY 9, 2003

INTRODUCTION: A NATIONAL PRAYER OF REPENTANCE

Joe Wright is the pastor of Central Christian Church in Wichita, KS. On January 23, 1996, He was asked to be the guest chaplain for the Kansas State House in Topeka. He prayed a prayer of repentance that was written by Bob Russell, pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. According to an article in the Kansas City Star from January 24, 1996, his prayer stirred controversy, and one member of the legislative body walked out. Others criticized the prayer.

The controversy didn’t end there. Later that year in the Colorado House, Republican representative Mark Paschall angered lawmakers by using Joe Wright’s prayer as the invocation. Some members there also walked out in protest.

Paul Harvey got a hold of the prayer and read it on his program. He got more requests for copies of it than any other thing he had ever done. Here’s what he prayed:

"Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask Your forgiveness and to seek Your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, "Woe to those who call evil good," but that’s exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values. We confess that:

We have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it pluralism.

We have worshipped other gods and called it multi-culturalism.

We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.

We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.

We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation.

We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.

We have killed our unborn and called it a choice.

We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.

We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.

We have abused power and called it political savvy.

We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition.

We have polluted the airwaves with profanity and called it freedom of expression.

We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, O God, and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of Kansas, and who have been ordained by You, to govern this great state. Grant them Your wisdom to rule and may their decisions direct us to the center of Your

will... Amen

TRANSITION THOUGHT:

THESIS SENTENCE: ONLY WHEN WE ARE WILLING TO CONFESS IS GOD OBIGATED TO ANSWER OUR PRAYER!

I. A PRAYER OF CONFESSION BEGINS WITH A BROKEN HEART

A.

B.

ILLUSTRATION: I WAS WRONG

Jim Bakker is back in the pulpit again. "It’s awesome to die and come back," he told about 400 worshipers at Way of Life Church, where he was the guest speaker Sunday.

The former PTL Ministries leader presided over a multimillion dollar TV ministry until he resigned amid a sex and money scandal that led to a five-year prison term.

The reinvigorated Bakker preached against "the gospel of money."

"If you fall in love with the things of this world, you will be disappointed," he said. He apologized for his misdeeds and once lavish lifestyle and thanked the Lord for sending him to prison.

Bakker has moved to Los Angeles and joined the International Dream Center helping inner-city youth.

"My flesh doesn’t want to live in the inner city because I don’t like earthquakes," Bakker said. "Jesus told me to move to L.A."

"As the true impact of Jesus’ words regarding money impacted my heart and mind, I became physically nauseated. I was wrong. I was wrong! Wrong in my lifestyle, certainly, but even more fundamentally, wrong in my understanding of the Bible’s true message. Not only was I wrong, but I was teaching the opposite of what Jesus had said."

SOURCE: ANAHEIM, Calif. (July 27, 1998 5:16 p.m. EDT. http://www.nandotimes.com)

Contributed by: Rick Stacy

II. A PRAYER OF CONFESSION IS MARKED BY AN ACCEPT OF GOD

A.

B.

ILLUSTRATION: In the first Harry Potter book (and movie), Harry stumbles on a mirror in Hogwarts castle. It is the mirror of Erised. Erised, of course, is the word "desire" written backwards, as if seen in a mirror. This magical mirror shows the one looking into it whatever they most desire. In Harry’s case, he sees his parents who died right after he was born. In Harry’s heart, his greatest desire is to see the parents he has never known.

When we look into the Perfect Mirror of the Law, we see our greatest desire.

We see our failures, we see our shortcomings. And we see our need for a Saviour, who is Jesus Christ our Lord.

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