“And when he was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers” (2-Chronicles 33:12).
Last night before climbing into bed I got down on my knees and I began to pray. Upon completing my prayer it occurred to me that I had prayed longer than usual. As I lay in bed contemplating the events of the day it dawned on me that I had a lot to pray for. When you have the burdens of life weighing down on you and you make it through the day it takes a little longer to say good night Jesus, thank you Father and see you in the morning Holy Spirit. All too often we rush our quiet time with the Lord, anxious to close our eyes and make it all go away, to be lost in the luxury of sleep.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just; and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I-John 1:9). I lay in bed thinking about King Manasseh from II-Chronicles 33 and the repentant prayer he prayed unto God until sleep won me over. I woke up this morning thinking about the same prayer. Like Manasseh I had more than one reason to spend as much time as I felt necessary to get things right with the Lord. Not because I have committed the terrible atrocities accounted to the wicked king, but because I can identify with him, I too have to confess, repent and praise God, it is the duty of man.
Manasseh after having been taken captive to Babylon by the Assyrians, repented and was restored to his kingdom, where he proceeded to undo much of the mischief he had done in his apostate days. The Prayer of Manasseh speaks to the infinite compassion of God. It makes plain that even the worst of offenders can stand before God in humble repentance and find forgiveness. It is a prayer meant to encourage those who feel their estrangement and hope for a restored relationship with God. Here is the Prayer of Manasseh.
“O Lord, Almighty God of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and of their righteous seed; who has made heaven and earth, with all the ornament thereof; who has bound the sea by the word of thy commandment; who has shut up the deep, and sealed it by thy terrible and glorious name; whom all men fear, and tremble before thy power; for the majesty of thy glory cannot be borne, and thine angry threatening toward sinners is importable: but thy merciful promise is immeasurable and unsearchable; for thou art the most high Lord, of great compassion, longsuffering, very merciful, and repentant of the evils of men.
Thou, O Lord, according to thy great goodness has promised repentance and forgiveness to them that have sinned against thee: and of thine infinite mercies has appointed repentance unto sinners, that they may be saved. Thou therefore, O Lord, that art the God of the just, has not appointed repentance to the just, as to Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, which have not sinned against thee; but thou has appointed repentance unto me that am a sinner: for I have sinned above the number of the sands of the sea. My transgressions, O Lord, are multiplied: my transgressions are multiplied, and I am not worthy to behold and see the height of heaven for the multitude of mine iniquities.
I am bowed down with many iron bands, that I cannot life up mine head, neither have any release: for I have provoked thy wrath, and done evil before thee: I did not thy will, neither kept I thy commandments: I have set up abominations, and have multiplied offences. Now therefore I bow the knee of mine heart, beseeching thee of grace. I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned, and I acknowledge mine iniquities: wherefore, I humbly beseech thee, forgive me, O Lord, forgive me, and destroy me not with mine iniquities. Be not angry with me forever, by reserving evil for me; neither condemn me to the lower parts of the earth.
For thou art the God, even the God of them that repent; and in me thou wilt show all thy goodness: for thou wilt save me, that am unworthy, according to thy great mercy. Therefore I will praise thee forever all the days of my life: for all the powers of the heavens do praise thee and thine is the glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
I have had my days of apostasy, I have come to know the compassion of God and I have repented to experience the joy of full restoration. Everything that Manasseh confessed and acknowledged unto God at some time most Christians will have a need to confess also. The question of the day is when will you bow the knee of your heart and ask God for the gift of forgiveness? “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
When you bow your knees and begin to pray, take your time, do not rush, God has all the time in the universe, you do not. He is waiting to restore you to a right relationship with Him and if He did for a man as evil as Manasseh and a man as unfaithful as I was, He certainly will do it for you. He has touched me and made me whole. Amen.
Grady Norman Greene, Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Our Christ
- Psalm 51 – A Prayer of Repentance (menofredemption.wordpress.com)