After seeing “The War Room”, I purchased the book “Fervent”. From the first chapter the ideas will take hold — and that’s a good thing. I’m sharing some excerpts from that book, along with a few other places and God’s Word.
A very real enemy has been strategizing and scheming against you, assaulting you, coming after your emotions, your mind, your man, your child, your future. In fact, he’s doing it right this second. Right where you’re sitting. Right where you are.
When you bring your concerns and fears and irritations to the Lord in prayer, you’re aligning your weakling spirit with the full force in God’s Holy Spirit. Instead of continuing to fail by taking the battle into your hands – and taking the battle to the wrong people – you’re joining instead with all the power of heaven to take your fight directly to the source of the problem.
It is very important that you get fully right with God before you start your prayers of petition and intercession. It is impossible to pray powerful, Spirit-led prayers if there is unconfessed sin between you and God.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24)
“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:15-16). The “righteous man” is the one who is committed to doing God’s will and to cultivating a relationship with God that knows God’s heart.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9) In the Old Testament, the “heart” is more than the seat of emotion. It represents the basis of character, including the mind and the will (4:19; Prov. 4:23;16:23).
Tragically, we tend to rush through our confession time so we can quickly focus on what we want God to do for us. No one can be truly cleansed and full of God’s Spirit with such shallow confession! Many people have little prayer power because they fail to practice meaningful confession on a daily basis.
Here are the Seven Steps that David took to get right with God:
Step 1: Come clean with God. Get honest and get your mistakes out in the open. Sometimes we’re afraid of losing our reputation or being publicly exposed. And sometimes we’re afraid of losing the security we got from indulging in our “favorite sin.” But the peace we get in return for coming clean will be worth it! We can trust that God’s ultimate outcome will be good.
Step 2: Ask God for forgiveness. We have to ask God to wash, cleanse and forgive us. Notice that David doesn’t try to negotiate a deal with God or minimize his sin. He says, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.” (Psalm 51:1)
Step 3: Own responsibility for your sin. We need to own our part in our mistake and also its consequences. “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.” (v. 3-5)
Step 4: Accept God’s forgiveness and cleansing. Like David, once we confess that we messed up and tell God we want a restored relationship with Him, at that very moment we receive His grace and forgiveness. But in order to experience God’s forgiveness, we first need to believe that we are forgiven, accepted and loved unconditionally.
Step 5: Request a fresh work of grace. Have you ever been tempted and then found yourself saying, “I’ll go ahead and sin and then ask for grace later”? What we need is for God to create afresh work in our hearts so that we don’t want anything to do with sin. Like David, we need to pray, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (v. 10)
Step 6: Resolve to use past failures for ministry. God wants to use the most difficult, sinful thing we’ve ever done and make us a trophy of His grace. God will use all of our sins to glorify Him, if we let Him. David tells God, when you do this new work in me “then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. Open my lips, Lord and my mouth will declare your praise. (v. 13, 15)
Step 7: Pray for limited fallout. Our sin never affects just us individually. But we can pray that in His grace, God will minimize the damage our sins might have had on those around us.
Over and over in Scripture we are reminded that we serve a God who, although doesn’t treat sin lightly, understands that we are mortal and struggle with sin. And out of His love for us, He wants to forgive us and take our very worst moments and claim them for Himself.
God’s top priority in the life of every believer is to make him holy and sanctified in body, soul, and spirit (Read Romans 8:29). The daily time of confession is God’s primary way of conforming you to the image of Christ. Scripture-based confession and repentance are God’s primary method for transforming you by the renewing of your mind (Read: Romans 12:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:16).