It is an inward struggle for most preachers to stand before a congregation and declare the Word of the Lord, while at the same time recognizing how unworthy they (we) are. Preaching with integrity requires us to be “confessed up.”
One person (who was a whole lot better at giving judgment and shame rather than giving grace) stated, “If God put on a screen behind you all the sins you committed this last week for people to see as you preached, you would be ashamed and unable to speak.” Which is true, except for God’s grace and God’s command to “Preach the Word.”
For many years I had a sheet in my sermon prep notebook simply labeled: “Confess & Repent of Unconfessed Sin in Your Life”. The list has no author listed on the paper, but the list looks like came from the late 1980’s (It is printed on my first computer printer: an old daisy-wheel.
If anyone knows the author, I will gladly credit it (Dick Eastman, perhaps?), but I offer it up not only for preachers, but for all believers. We all need to live lives that are “confessed up” whether or not we preach from a pulpit. We preach with our lives.
God requires a clean heart. Sin short-circuits your relationship with God: “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” (Ps. 66:18)
Some hindrances of prayer to consider:
- Selfishness and wrong motives (James 4:2-3)
- Lack of compassion (Prov 21:13)L
- Lack of domestic harmony or peace with mate, children, relatives (I Peter 3:7)
- Pride (Job 35:12-13)
- Disobedience (I John 3:22)
- Lack of faith (James 5:15)
- Unforgiving spirit (Matt 5:23-25)
- Failure to ask God according to God’s will (I John 5:14)
- Failure to know God’s Word and abide in Christ (John 15:7)
- Hypocrisy (Matt 6:;5)
- Wrong attitudes e.g. impure thoughts, jealousy, guilt, worry, critical spirit, frustration, aimlessness, etc.
- Loss of first love (Rev. 2:4)
- Lukewarmness (Rev. 3:16)
- Critical attitude (Matt 7:1-5)
- Hardhearteness/insensitivity (Matt 7:1-5)
Confess all sin God brings to your mind:
- Remember that God promises to cleanse and forgive you” “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleans us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)
- Thank him that He has forgiven all of your sins as He said he would. The very act of saying “Thank you” demonstrates faith. Faith pleases God.
- Don’t let the memory of unconfessed sin trouble you again. You are clean in the sight of God!