I mentioned recently in this blog how important it was to me that the Episcopalians actually humbled themselves and would kneel every service. Here is one of the Canticles from the Morning Prayer service that has increased in meaning for me as my knees are less and less cooperative for the act of kneeling. It is a prayer of repentance and useful at all times, but especially during Lent.
If you are unaware of your sin, perhaps this prayer can help you remember a few. “I have sinned and I know my wickedness only too well.” Rest there for a time. The Holy Spirit will gently remind you if you are sincerely asking.
Canticle 14 – A Song of Penitence Prayer of Manasseh
O Lord and Ruler of the hosts of heaven, * God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and of all their righteous offspring: You made the heavens and the earth, * with all their vast array. All things quake with fear at your presence; * they tremble because of your power. But your merciful promise is beyond all measure; * it surpasses all that our minds can fathom. O Lord, you are full of compassion, * long-suffering, and abounding in mercy. You hold back your hand; * you do not punish as we deserve. In your great goodness, Lord, you have promised forgiveness to sinners, * that they may repent of their sin and be saved. And now, O Lord, I bend the knee of my heart, * and make my appeal, sure of your gracious goodness. I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned, * and I know my wickedness only too well. Therefore I make this prayer to you: * Forgive me, Lord, forgive me. Do not let me perish in my sin, * nor condemn me to the depths of the earth. For you, O Lord, are the God of those who repent, * and in me you will show forth your goodness. Unworthy as I am, you will save me, in accordance with your great mercy, * and I will praise you without ceasing all the days of my life. For all the powers of heaven sing your praises, * and yours is the glory to ages of ages. Amen.
There is debate about whether Manasseh should be considered part of the Bible. If you are interested in the debate you can see https://www.gotquestions.org/Prayer-of-Manasseh.html I am not concerned about that. I am concerned about keeping my heart clean before God and trusting in His goodness. Bending the knee of my heart in confession is one way I try to do just that.
KNEELING—falling to one’s knees as a sign of reverence, obedience, or respectInternational Children’s Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN.: Tommy Nelson, 2006).
We are usually quite aware of the times we disappoint the Lord. Perhaps you have not called your actions wickedness, but compared to the glory and righteousness of God those actions are nothing less. Yes, we are to kneel as a sign of reverence, obedience, respect. I do not think God cares if I actually bend my knees to the ground or bend the knee of my heart because my heart can at times be more stubborn than my old knees. He is looking for my yieldedness to His authority. He is a God full of compassion and quick to forgive, but we must confess our sins. I love the verse in 1 John 1:9 that says He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.
If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.1 John 1:9 RSV
Notice that the above verse begins with the little two letter word “if.” His forgiveness and cleansing are dependent upon our willingness to confess. The first step is ours.
I am praying you will examine your life and take those sins to the One who grants peace and mercy. I assure you, it is worth your time and effort.