Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other.
In January 1907, in what is now North
Korea, more than one thousand
Christians met for a worship service.
During the prayer time, many became
convicted of sins they had committed
against one another. The subsequent
outpouring of confession, which spilled
over into the surrounding community,
was the beginning of a season of growth
and revival in the Pyongyang church.
Today’s passage recounts when God’s
covenant people fell under conviction of
sin. After leaving Babylon, the Israelite
exiles began to rebuild their lives in
Jerusalem. But almost immediately,
they learned that the Israelites who had
arrived ahead of them sinned against
God by intermarrying with their ungodly
neighbors (Ezra 9:1–2).
Ezra, as the priest of God’s people,
took the lead in pouring out prayers of
confession for this widespread sin in
his community. So, too, church leaders
have a responsibility to intercede for
the members of their churches. When
sins like pride, racism, and spiritual
apathy invade our congregations, our
leaders must publicly confess them and
ask God for forgiveness.
Not only did Ezra make intercession,
prayers of confession were also in the
hearts of “a large crowd of Israelites—
men, women and children” (v. 1). In
an episode similar to the days of
Josiah, when all the people humbled
themselves after the long-lost book of
the law was read (2 Chron. 34:8–33),
Ezra’s entire community gathered to
repent. When our churches are troubled
by quarreling, our love for outsiders is
weak, or our zeal for worship grows dim,
we should gather to pray for forgiveness.
Having each voiced our confession, we
join together to pray that we might all
be restored to fellowship with our holy
God and with one another.
Apply the Word
One account of the Pyongyang revival says: “All through the city men were going from house to house, confessing to individuals they had injured, returning stolen property and money, not only to Christian but to heathen as well, till the whole city was stirred.” Ask God to give you and the members of your community a spirit of prayerful repentance.
Pray with Us
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