Q. When we confess our sins to God, are we to be specific? Or maybe say something like “I confess I am a sinner and ask you to forgive my sins and wash me clean with the blood of my Beloved Jesus”? The thing is, I try to confess when I pray, but sometimes I can’t think of everything I need to confess. Please don’t get me wrong. I know I’m a sinner and have probably done many things I just don’t remember. How specific do we need to get?
A. King David expressed the same problem when he wrote Psalm 19. He knew there were sins he had committed that he had either forgotten or wasn’t even aware of. In verses 12-13 he said,
“Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.”
He asked the Lord to forgive his hidden faults (the sins he wasn’t aware of) and to help him avoid willful sinning as well. I think his prayer was a good way to make sure he had everything covered. I often use it myself.
It’s important to remember that the Lord already knows all our sins. In fact He knew them long before we were born, and when He went to the cross He took them all with Him and nailed them to His cross (Colossians 2:13-14). Then He forgave us for every one of them. Therefore, when we confess we’re saying we know we still sin, and haven’t fooled ourselves into thinking that we no longer do that. It’s the way we keep our relationship with Him honest, and it helps us remember just how much He’s done for us.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8-9).