On Sunday, September 20, 2020, Stephanie Shanks prayed a Prayer of Confession and Matthew Williams preached the message, “The Dwelling Place of God” as part of our sermon series Life in the Son from John 2:13-25. Click here for the projection notes. To listen to this message again, click here.
Prayer of Confession:

Lord Jesus, we come to you with our hearts and minds already exposed in the light of your holiness. There’s nothing we can do but draw near to your throne of grace. Because you are seated at the right hand of God, we know our prayers are heard and perfected and answered. You are the Founder and Perfecter of our faith, and it was for the joy set before you that you endured the cross for us.

We confess we bring distracted thoughts and lukewarm affections and anxious bodies to you today. We have taken your presence for granted. We have neglected time with you. We have not kept our hearts tuned to your Word. And we’ve forgotten why you saved us to begin with—to invite us into your joy.

We like the sound of this, and we believe it, but our track record this week betrays us. In reality, we have tried to find happiness in everything but you:
In affirmation and affection from others;
in the comfort of satisfying our appetites;
in grand plans to be productive;
in being recognized and respected for our work;
in money, whether we have it or we need it;
in our intelligence, our health, our social status;
in being a good enough parent, spouse, friend, student, professional, activist, or moral example.

We think these things will fix us and fill us, but they won’t. All of these hopes are broken cisterns, leaky jars. You’ve warned us about these, but we’ve forgotten again. So again, gracious Savior, we repent. We confess how much we need your mercy, your patience, your discipline, and your cleansing blood that cost more than we can ever imagine.

You alone give us good things. You are the source of every good thing we have ever tasted and will ever long for. How much better is the Giver than the gifts? Lord, please give us a deeper hunger for you, then satisfy us with your joy, the kind that only comes from knowing and following you with abandon. Jesus, you are the pearl of great price worth selling everything for. We’ve forgotten that.

You are unlike anyone else. You pursue us. You cover our shame. You prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies. You are preparing a place with you for eternity. You are an exceedingly generous king and a delightful friend and a radiant bridegroom who knows us completely and loves us anyway. Forgive us for thinking anyone or anything else could hold a candle to you. Forgive us for running to other things to satisfy. We confess all of this and we choose to change.

We truly have no good apart from you.
Because of your mercy we pray, amen.

Discussion Questions:
  1. In John 2:13-25 we see that Jesus was consumed with a holy passion for the honor of God. What is it that consumes your thoughts?
  2. What is your attitude toward sin right now? Do you see your sin as a desecration of the temple of the Lord?
  3. Are you quick to encourage your brothers and sisters in the church to become more like Jesus?
  4. In the past, how has the encouragement or rebuke of a faithful friend helped you become more like Jesus?
  5. Jesus calls people to trust him for who he is, not because he passes the tests we set. How do you respond to Jesus when he doesn’t do what you want him to do?
  6. Jesus is eager and able to cleanse you, and he knows exactly where you most need him to cleanse you. How does knowing this comfort or encourage you?
Morgan began attending KingsWay with her family when she was in high school. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BFA and relocated to Minnesota for work. Morgan moved back to the warmer climate of Richmond in 2015 and became a member of KingsWay in 2016. Morgan owns her own business and likes to read in her free time.

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