Call upon God, adore, confess,
Petition, plead, and then declare
You are the Lord's; give thanks and bless,
And let the Amen confirm the prayer.
The third item of prayer in this poem by Watts is “confess.” We typically think of the word confess as it is used in the Bible and comes from the Greek word homologeō. The word homologeō is a combination of two Greek words, homos (meaning “same”) and logeō (meaning “to speak”). You could thus say that homologeō means “to speak the same thing.” Applied to matters that we confess to God, confession could be described as our speaking to God and saying the same thing He Himself would say about a given matter, whether sin or something else. Watts explains confession in four ways.
First, we confess to God the lowliness of our original nature. We acknowledge our finite qualities in comparison to Him who is above all and state our dependence upon Him. We say with David of old, “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Ps 8:4).
Second, we confess our sins to God. We identify the various ways in which we have sinned against God. As Jesus taught the disciples, we ask God to “forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matt 6:12), and we must point out exactly how we have indebted ourselves to God through sin.
Third, we confess that we deserve punishment and are unworthy of mercy. Every sin is infinitely egregious in the eyes of God (cf. James 2:10), and we deserve infinite punishment in hell for every sin that we commit. When we throw ourselves at His mercy, there is a once-for-all forgiveness He grants to us in Christ (cf. Col 1:14), and there is also a forgiveness He grants to us as His children when we have defiled ourselves with sin (cf. Matt 6:12).
Fourth, we confess our wants and sorrows of every kind. We tell God anything and everything that is on our hearts and bring it to His attention. We confess to Him all that we can so that we may in turn ask Him to grant requests pertaining to these matters.
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