The Kind of Prayer I’d Like To Avoid

by Meghan Ryan July 25, 2023
“Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins.” Psalm 25:18 (NIV)

Confession: I’m really resistant to practicing confession in my prayers.

I don’t think I’m alone in this, either. Admitting where we don’t measure up, where we fall short, and what we hide in the straight-up ugly and dark places of our hearts is not exactly something I think anyone feels enthusiastic about. In fact, I think it’s a prayer we like to avoid.

Especially when it seems like we keep running into the same struggles over and over again. As hard as we try, we just can’t seem to overcome that one sin. Is it possible to change?

If you feel this tension, too, I want to show you why confession matters. By definition, it is an act of faith. First John 1:9 says we confess our sins because God “is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (ESV). In Scripture, “confession” often refers to an acknowledgement of our sins before God — and in some cases, also before a fellow Christ follower or anyone we have sinned against.

Admitting what we’ve done wrong, the things we aren’t proud of, and the moments that make us want to hide in shame doesn’t sound like the access code to change. But acknowledging our faults and failures paves the way for us to experience freedom.

King David, the author of Psalm 25, experienced this freedom when he brought his sins before God. While we don’t know the circumstances he faced, we do know that in asking God to save him, he admitted he was not innocent.

In today’s key verse, David approached God and asked Him to “look on [his] affliction and [his] distress and take away all [his] sins” (Psalm 25:18).

David’s confession of his sins didn’t leave him in despair and dismay; it reminded him of his desperate need for God. He knew God was the only One who could rescue him.

So how should we confess? Where do we start? David did three things in his confession that we can also practice.

1. Reference God’s character. Throughout Psalm 25, David stated characteristics of God. His love is steadfast, and He’s faithful (Psalm 25:10). He is good and upright (Psalm 25:8), He does not put us to shame (Psalm 25:3), and He mercifully pardons our guilt (Psalm 25:11).

2. Remember what God has done. Knowing that God instructed and brought His people out of their distress in the past gives us hope that we, too, can move forward after we sin (Psalm 25:6-7).

3. Remind ourselves of what God will do because of who He is. In referencing God’s characteristics, David reminded himself that God would forgive him, instruct him and deliver him from trouble (Psalm 25:3; Psalm 25:8; Psalm 25:15).

Friend, change is possible. And confession is the first step in admitting that we can’t do it on our own and that only God can save us. Confession is not about shaming us — it’s about freeing us from the weight of shame. When we stop hiding, we can start healing.

Let this be an invitation to approach God and admit your need for Him to forgive and heal you today.

God, I confess that I am resistant to bringing my sins and shortcomings to You. Because of my sinful nature, I don’t like to admit my sins. But Your Word tells me that when I confess, You are faithful and just to forgive me and, through Christ, make me righteous before You. So I confess my sins to You today. You already know them all. Forgive me. Set me free. And help me walk in that freedom from shame today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


If practicing confession in your prayer life feels complicated or uncomfortable, we want to invite you to join our next study … Praying Through the Psalms: 30 Days To Uncomplicate How You Talk to God. This six-week study starts August 7 in the free First 5 mobile app. Each week of the study addresses a different type of prayer and includes exercises that will equip you to make this kind of connection with the Lord a habit in your life. Click here to order your study guide!





Today’s devotion writer, Meghan Ryan, is a contributing writer for the Praying Through the Psalms study guide. To find a friend who understands the daily struggles of navigating your faith, connect with Meghan on her Instagram, and sign up for her monthly newsletter on her blog


Romans 8:1, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus …” (NIV).

Is there a person in your life who you can share your struggles with today? Text or call her/him and ask her/him to pray with you.

How can you practice confession today? If today’s devotion has changed your perspective on confession, let us know in the comments!

© 2023 by Meghan Ryan. All rights reserved.

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