Beliefnet
Prayer, Plain and Simple

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Offended? A 25-year-old Northwestern graduate student named Joseph Holland was charged with disorderly conduct for praying in front of a Planned Parenthood facility in Chicago. Holland claims he was standing still praying the rosary on a public sidewalk on July 3 when police arrested him for violating the city’s new “Bubble Zone” ordinance, a law passed last October that prohibits approaching or interfering with anyone entering or leaving a health care facility.

Were Holland’s prayers “interfering” with people entering Planned Parenthood?

What do you think? Does prayer on a public sidewalk constitutes interference and should be grounds for arrest?

Repentance finishes with change – conversion. How will I now live and be different? With each of the specific sins connected to each of the specific Commands I have broken I will seek God for a counter move, a contrary action from a contrary motive deposited in me by His Spirit.

I cannot change on my own. I accept grace by faith for pardon; I also accept grace by faith for transformation. Each confessed sin which I share with my confessor will also meet a commitment of new action, new life, revealed then empowered by the Spirit in me. 

“Lord, keep me true to these promises!”

The work of repentance begins with confession. Confession is agreeing with God about my condition. I have asked God to search my heart and to show me sin. I have acknowledged this in detail and confessed the specifics to him. Now I go the next step…

“If we confess our sin he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).

“Lord, I have confessed my sin to you, according to the Light of your Spirit shining in my life the specific law of your Word. I now ask for mercy. David himself, when he saw his sinfulness turned toward you not away from you. He asked for pardon. ‘Have mercy on me oh God, according to you never failing love.’ I see my sin and it is clear before me. Now I ask you to cleanse me and pardon the guilt. I lean now upon the work that you have already done in this. I am not asking for some fluky accident, or for you to randomly forget your justice. No! I am asking you to credit to me the pardon purchased by Jesus on the cross, that my sin would be substituted for his righteousness. I embrace this exchange in all the specifics I have acknowledged. I accept the exchange… I am pardoned and with that, cleansed and liberated and washed pure and made new!”

“God, the standard I level against myself is your standard, not my own. You have given us all the stipulations of righteousness. We know what you expect and how you have designed us to live. We might break these laws, but we cannot finally break them; no, they break us! Your Ten Commandments test and measure my intent and behavior. I invite you in the power of your presence by the Holy Spirit to line my life up against this standard of measurement. This is your bureau of standards. This is your prescription for life. Test me…”

The Ten Commandments measure my life. Today I am lining up my life beside each of these 10 standards. I am examining in detail the individual elements of my life. How am I? Where am I missing the mark? What specifics betray my soul condition? I will not make these details public on this blog. That is not fitting. I will confess to one of my confidants, however.

ONE: ‘You shall have no other gods before Me.’  

TWO: ‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image–any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.’

THREE: ‘You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.’

FOUR: ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.’

FIVE: ‘Honor your father and your mother.’

SIX: ‘You shall not murder.’

SEVEN: ‘You shall not commit adultery.’

EIGHT: ‘You shall not steal.’

NINE: ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.’

TEN: ‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.’