2 Corinthians 7:10, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
Another kind of prayer taught in the Bible is the “prayer of repentance.” Repentance means to “change one’s mind and direction.” When people sin against God’s holy and just commands, they should pray this kind of prayer to receive forgiveness and live the God kind of life. Paul taught that true repentance comes with “godly sorrow” and that it “leads to salvation” and “leaves no regret.”
Godly sorrow is a positive response brought about by the Holy Spirit in our hearts when we sin, so that we can properly confess our wrong doing to God (1 John 1:9). Each time we break God’s commands, the Holy Spirit convicts our heart (conscience) and lets us feel a sense of guilt and sadness. This sadness, also known as “grieving,” is not to bring condemnation or shame. But rather, God uses this emotional feeling to produce sorrow towards our sin. God then uses the sorrow to remind us of God’s strong hatred towards all disobedience, whether it is big or small in the eyes of man, so that we can confess it, be forgiven and repent (change our actions by changing our thinking).
Whenever we take sin lightly, we need to look at the cross and see how serious the Father saw Jesus’ sacrifice. Jesus’ blood shed on Calvary was never meant to be an excuse to sin, but motivation to live free from sin.
Charles Spurgeon said, “Repentance is as much a mark of a Christian, as faith is. A very little sin, as the world calls it, is a very great sin to a true Christian.” May we always hate what God hates and love what He loves (Romans 12:9)!
The prayer of repentance has two main functions. First and foremost, it is prayed when a sinner repents of their sins to be saved and confesses Jesus as the Lord of their life. Second, the prayer of repentance is for the saved saint whenever they sin and break one of God’s commands. That prayer asks to be forgiven and set them back on the right path. On both occasions, the Holy Spirit will come and grieve the heart of the offender and make them aware of their treason against God. Then, when they are made aware of their sin and pray to receive forgiveness, God will respond with His blessed assurance from His great love and mercy (Psalm 32:1).
In contrast, some people just feel bad about their sins with only a “worldly sorrow” and never really repent. Worldly sorrow is the mindset of self-pity and unwillingness to rely on God for help not to sin. They may say, “I’ll always be like this, after all nobody is perfect.” However, this kind of sorrow doesn’t lead to life, but rather death because it comes from man’s emotions and makes excuses for sin. True repentance produces sorrow brought about by God and leads to forgiveness and life.
Here is an example of the prayer of repentance in regards to the sin of perversion, “Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus, asking for you to forgive my sins of lust and perversion. I know I have broken your law and have fallen short of your glory. Please wash me in the blood of Jesus and make me as white as snow. Create a new heart within me and give me a willing spirit to always obey you. I believe you made me holy to live holy. Thank you for your mercy and loving kindness, Amen.”
Make time every day to search your heart and see if there is any wicked way in you. If God brings godly sorrow into your heart, pray the prayer of repentance and receive His forgiveness!
Do you believe godly sorrow is a good thing?
- Ask God to convict you of any sins in your life.
- With godly sorrow confess to God all the sins He may expose.
- Pray the prayer of repentance and declare you are who God said you are and that you can do all that He said you can do.