By Tim Taylor September 8, 2022 - I’ve led prayer for years and I’ve often been surprised at the lack of understanding of scripture when people pray. For example, I’ve often heard people praying for a president, governor, a group of people (ie. Like ANTIFA) or you name it and they’ll pray something like:
“Father, we repent for them…”.
I understand their motive and their heart’s desire to be merciful or to help change destructive behavior BUT, you cannot repent for someone else. Look what repentance actually means. It means to think differently. To reconsider what the moral ramifications are. It means to change a person's mind.
Only the individual can choose to change THEIR mind. A change of mind is followed by a change of action. That makes sense dosen't it?
You can ask God for have mercy on them. You can ask God to forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing. But you cannot repent for them.
Only THEY can repent. Then and only then will they be able to experience the forgiveness or the pardon for THEIR sin.
If you REPENT for them, then you violate their FREE WILL. Jesus brought us the gospel of the kingdom. The goodnews is, you get to decide for yourself. They get to decide for themselves. It is a personal decision for each of us shall stand alone before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10).
I pray they would repent. I pray God have mercy. I pray Holy Spirit draw them. I pray God would lift the veil off their heart (2 Corinthians 3:14-4:4). I pray God forgive them, they don’t understand what they are doing (Luke 23:24), but I cannot repent for them.
That is something they have to choose to do for themselves. It is rooted in the principle of personal responsibility.
Personal responsibility is also associated with personal benefit. There is a tremendous benefit that comes from owning the responsibilty for your actions. When we repent, then we position ourselves to enjoy the "remission," the pardon, the FORGIVENESS for our sin.
I pray we'd come to recognize what a beautiful gift repentance actually is. It opens up the benefits that accompany the kingdom that Jesus reigns in.
Revelation 22:3-5 3 And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. 4 They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. 5 There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.