Pay attention to this prayer of your servant that I'm praying day and night in intercession for your servants, the People of Israel, confessing the sins of the People of Israel. And I'm including myself, I and my ancestors, among those who have sinned against you. Nehemiah 1:6 (MSG)
Several years ago, my daughter came to me and requested a special audience. There was something she needed to talk about. We sat down in the living room and she began to weep. Through her tears, she blurted out a confession of a bad choice she had made a few months before. She fell apart as she shared what she'd done. It was obvious her guilt had been eating away at her soul.
I wasn't shocked by what she'd done. I wasn't angry with her. She needed no punishment. Her guilt and guilty conscience had obviously done a number on her. Her entire being was twisted up into a knot of shame. I was proud of her for admitting it. I watched as she slowly felt the freedom that comes when we unload our soul.
I find it interesting that Nehemiah confessed his shortcomings before he requested God's favor with the king. There is something powerful in confession. Confession is spiritual chiropractic, bringing our center core back into proper alignment with God. It helps keep our personal requests and gimmes in their honest, proper perspective.
A good reminder from Nehemiah today: Before I request – confess.