(Reprinted from The Lookout, June 11, 2000, with permission from Standard Publishing)
Father, forgive us, for we know all too well what we’re doing.
We know the good we ought to do and don’t do it, and that’s
We know we ought to pray without ceasing, but often we try to exist without praying.
We say that experience is the best teacher, but a lot of us try to avoid Your spiritual classroom.
We tell others that trials build character, but when trials come our way we quickly head for the nearest exit.
We know we shouldn’t worry or hold grudges, yet as we journey through life, anxious thoughts cling like thistles and old resentments irritate like pebbles in our shoes.
We know Jesus died to wipe the slate clean, but like stubborn streaks on a windowpane our past sins cloud our eyes and blur our vision.
We can quote the 23rd Psalm, but we’ve failed to shepherd our people. We’ve turned the Great Commission into a great omission. We’re preoccupied with our great commitments to the golf game and the soap opera, the stock market and the health spa.
We know how quickly our kids are growing up, but we find so little time to read a book, fly a kite, tell a joke, toss a ball, or pass along a memory.
We’ve read the New Testament’s "one another" passages, but it’s hard to find time for one another when we’re rushing from one meeting to another, one store to another, one job to another, one game to another.
We know we ought to exercise self-control, but it’s hard in the days of remote control, cruise control, and a nation’s moral climate that seems out of control. We know that our bodies are temples, yet we abuse them by overworking, overeating, under-resting, and under-exercising.
Forgive us, Father. We know exactly what we’re doing.
We know that Your Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path, but we’re often too lazy to flip the switch and open the Book.
We know that we thrive on encouragement ourselves, yet we’re quick to criticize others. We know that friends are precious gifts, but we can’t seem to find the time to simply sit and talk, or write a note, or make a phone call to friends who need these gifts from us.
We know that the church is the beautiful bride of Christ, but often we treat her like a scorned women. We’re sloppy in our worship and sluggish in our service. We’re fussy with our expectations, but seldom ask about Yours.
Sometimes we say, "If I’d only known . . . " But we already know so much! Help us, Father, to "live up to what we have already attained" (Philippians 3:16). Help us to seek Your Kingdom first, to love our families well, to devote ourselves to prayer. Help us find fellowship instead of finding fault. In our weak moments, make us strong. When temptation tugs, keep us faithful. When regrets threaten to overwhelm us, renew our souls with a fresh taste of amazing grace.
"Restore us again, Oh God our Savior, and put away Your displeasure toward us . . . Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your unfailing love, O Lord, and grant us Your salvation" (Psalm 85:4-7)
We pray in the name of Jesus, who died in our place and lives to give us life. Amen.