Daniel 9:3-10, Psalm 25:1-10, 1 John 1:5-10
The ashes that many had on their foreheads yesterday are gone, either rubbed or washed off. As we read yesterday, ashes are a sign of repentance. Daniel sought God through prayer, supplication, fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. Daniel uses these 5 things not to get a reward, nor in expectation that he would get an answer because he did them. Daniel did them to put aside himself, so that he be more aware of God, and less concerned for himself.
Prayer is a conversation. Especially during Lent, we can be deliberate in speaking less, and listening more. Supplications are not the list of things we want, think we need, health, wealth, and so on, but it is in the spirit of saying, “God, please use me. God, please change me to fulfill your purpose.” Fasting is often food, as it is essential to live. In our age of plenty, fasting can be a powerful spiritual tool, as it reminds us of our blessings, and the blessor, God our Father.
Sackcloth was what people wore to show that they were repenting or mourning. It was very uncomfortable. This cloth rubbing against one’s bare skin was another physical reminder that things were not as they ought to be. Daniel, a man of importance, wearing sackcloth would have been very unusual, and would have likely caused a stir, and would have likely been humiliating for a person whose focus was on himself, rather than God.
2) In 1 John 1:5-10, confession is cornerstone of our release from sin. Confession is hard when we have to confess to others, because it requires trust. When you confess to God, is it easy because you trust God, or is it easy because you think God is distant or not listening?
3) What practices of confession do you follow? Are they enough?