Date: October 1, 2023
The Point: Confession and repentance keep us close to God.
Get Into the Study
Begin the study by discussing Question #1, then share the following:
For fifteen years, Tony Peralta’s favorite hiding place was Roswell, New Mexico. That came to an end this past May when police found him sitting on a curb after he had borrowed a cell phone to call 911 and confessed to killing his landlord fifteen years earlier. Video footage of the arrest showed Peralta standing up and volunteering to be handcuffed. He then repeatedly thanked the officers for picking him up.
“I confess, man. I confess. I don’t want to live life anymore without confessing.” A tearful Peralta told police he didn’t know why he had killed the man. Peralta said he decided to come forward because “his heart hurts” and that he thought about it every day. He told an officer that he killed the man for no reason while high on drugs.
At one point, the video shows him putting his head down onto a table and sobbing. “Tell them that he was a good man, and I shouldn’t have done what I did,” Peralta said. “He was always good to me, and I took his life for no reason, and I don’t have an excuse.”
Say: While you have probably never committed the crimes Tony Peralta committed, has there ever been a time when unconfessed sin made your “heart hurt?”
In our study today, Daniel comes to God confessing the sins of the nation. As you read his prayers in chapter 9, you can feel the hurt he has because of the disobedience of the people of Israel. As you study, ask yourself if we need to voice the same confession, not only for our nation, but for each of us individually.
Study the Bible
After discussing Question #4, share the following:
In late August, more than two hundred people gathered in Little Rock Arkansas for two days to pray for an “authentic awakening.” Hosted by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, the tenth annual meeting brought together pastors and church leaders to pray “for an outpouring of (God’s) spirit … that will not only impact us today but, Lord, it will go back to our churches and communities and there will be a revival that sweeps through this state like never before.”
Dr. Rex Horne, interim Executive Director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, welcomed the participants as he told them, “I, probably like you, have come tonight with expectations. I am sure it will be a time that we pray and ask the Lord to forgive us. It will be a time that we pray and ask the Lord to fill us. It will be a time that we just ask the Lord to unify us as one so that we might be more useful in this day where the only hope we have is the Lord Jesus Himself.”
Throughout the two days, God moved in the hearts of those who attended as they prayed for spiritual awakening and a great sweeping movement of God across the state, the nation, and the world.
Amazingly, on the same days as the Statewide Prayer Gathering, more than three hundred men, women, and youth made professions of faith during an evangelistic event in El Dorado, Arkansas, hosted by multiple churches in the area. A key leader in the areawide event described the time as “a faith walk from beginning to end,” with prayer as the foundation of the revival. “It started in prayer. It’s ending in prayer. They’re still praying. That has been the foundation of everything we’ve done.”
Discuss Question #5, making it personal to your group.
Lynn Riley is retired from the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, where he served as a team member in the areas of evangelism and church health. He and his wife Cheryl live in Smyrna, TN, and are active members of Rolling Hills Community Church in Nolensville, TN.
Study the Bible [Option for Adult Leader Guide]
In advance, play a song of corporate confession and praise to close the session.
- When’s the last time you argued about directions while on a trip?
- Growing up, when did you have to confess something to your parents? How did it go?
- What are some life lessons you have learned from failure?
- What’s your favorite place to hide when you don’t want to be found?
- What is the point of confession for us as followers of Jesus? What does it provide?
- If God knows our sins, why do we need to confess them?
- How does confession impact our relationship with God?
- What happens when we don’t confess our sins?
- What characteristic of God gives you confidence to move toward Him in honesty about your sin and failures?
- What can we learn about God from these verses?
- How do God’s righteousness, compassion, and forgiveness give you confidence to confess?
- What are some reasons we might not confess our sins?
- What role can confession play in our community as a group?
- What role should confession play in our community as a church?
- What truths about God from this session will give you confidence to confess this week?
- What role does humility play with regards to the confession of sin?
For Those in Your Group
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Click here for a 20-minute podcast for both the group member and the leader.