How Confession of Sin Affects Prayer


Maybe your prayer times are boring because you don’t feel like you’re connecting to God. This might actually be the case; maybe you’re not imagining that God isn’t hearing you. He might, in fact, not be hearing you.

Confession of sin is a prerequisite for prayer to be heard by God. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” (Psalm 66:18) If you have unconfessed sin in your life, you might as well not pray if you don’t want to repent, since that time will be wasted. Don’t pretend to pray if you don’t care about holiness in your life. God is holy, and the only way to have communion with Him is to get rid of sin.

So how do you do that? What if you don’t know if you’ve sinned or not? If you ask God to please show you your sin, and then you’re quiet and open your heart, God will show your sin to you. At that point you can repent, and you will be able to have communion with God. To repent is to be sorry, and to ask God to help you stop doing it. Repent means to desire to turn the opposite direction. There is no reason for you to be disconnected from the heart of God. All of us can have sweet and delirious access to God, where He is able to lead us because we are sensitive to His Spirit.

The other thing about confession of sin is that God commands us to confess our sins to one another, that we may be healed. (James 5:16) Why on earth does God command us to humiliate ourselves to other sinful humans? So that we can love each other with all humility. If I confess my sin to you today, then you pray for me and hold me accountable. Then tomorrow when you confess your sin to me, I cannot hold you in contempt. Why? Because you know my sin. Nobody is on a pedestal. Nobody is glorified but God. When I gain victory over sin, you feel happy and rejoice with me, because YOU are responsible (partially) for praying for me, so you get rewarded spiritually.

Meanwhile, if another friend stumbles, both you and I have hearts that hurt for our friend, and we help that person, and eventually that person is victorious. We rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep, because we are truly woven together as a family in the body of Christ. There is depth to our interactions with each other.

Imagine how much unity we would have in the body of Christ if we stopped trying to bring glory to ourselves, but instead confessed sin and ONLY brought glory to God? We would lift each other up before God and love each other for real. I highly recommend women do this only with women, and men with men, unless it’s your spouse, or unless you’ve invited the whole family over to dinner, so you use your spiritual gifts with each other as families.

The body of Christ would be woven together, with each person using their spiritual gift, and no one lording it over anyone else because everyone struggles with sin. All of us are trapped in the flesh and need prayer. If we let no one in, that is a recipe for disaster, a recipe for becoming entrenched in habitual sin that is much harder to get rid of, a stronghold. Strongholds wouldn’t be allowed to take hold if we were all humble enough to obey the verse to confess sin to one another. Instead, we disobey the verse because we want to look good to others, glorifying ourselves.

Let’s bring glory to God. We are not great. God is.

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4 Responses to “How Confession of Sin Affects Prayer”

  1. Amy says:

    Thank you for explaining that so clearly. It isn’t that I haven’t been told, or thought about all of it before.. but sometimes I get so thick-headed that I can’t seem to get my thinking around it again. I even read James recently. I think I shall go read it again.

    • Susan says:

      I sometimes get so tired of Christians looking down on fellow believers, as if they themselves didn’t struggle with sin. If we confessed sin to each other, this wouldn’t happen. The people who are closest to God are always the most humble.

  2. That’s the verse that came instantly to mind when I read your title! 🙂

  3. Diana Boles says:

    I am always curious about others’ take on sin and confession. I appreciate scripture-based blogs and this was a good one. Thank you for sharing it.

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