Why There is Only One Prayer

Prayer of Consecration

Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body as a holy and living sacrifice to you.

Jesus, We belong to you.

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.


What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. As it is written:


“There is no one righteous, not even one;

      there is no one who understands;

      there is no one who seeks God.

All have turned away,

      they have together become worthless;

there is no one who does good,

      not even one.”

“Their throats are open graves;

      their tongues practice deceit.”

“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”

      “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”

“Their feet are swift to shed blood;

      ruin and misery mark their ways,

and the way of peace they do not know.”

      “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Romans 3:9-18 (NIV) 

Consider This

Repeat after me . . . and aloud so your ears can hear it:

I am not righteous—not even me.

I do not understand.

I do not seek God.

I have turned away.

I have become worthless.

I do not do good—not even me.

My throat is an open grave.

My tongue practices deceit.

The poison of vipers is on my lips.

My mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.

My feet are swift to shed blood.

My ways are marked by ruin and misery.

I do not know the way of peace.

My eyes do not see the fear of God.

I know—many of you had a hard time with that because it’s not where you are now. However, at minimum, it is where you were before you met Jesus. It cannot be overstressed to remember who you once were. Even if you did not actually do these sins, this Sin was in you. It commanded you, ruled you, and ruined your life; even if everything on the outside had the touch of a master decorator.

When we say with Paul, “I am not ashamed of the gospel,” we are saying this was me, my lot, my reality, even if I didn’t fully realize it at the time. I was under the power of capital S sin. I could do nothing to free myself.

And this is the reason why so many decent, God-fearing, church-going people are not really saved from Sin—because they haven’t yet realized they were really under the power of Sin—which is another way of saying you still are. To say, “I am baptized,” is just like a Jew saying, “I am circumcised.” The gospel is not skin level. It is deep heart level. It gets down into your guts where shame hides and tries to convince you it’s not there.

It’s why at the end of the day I contend there is only one prayer and one prayer alone. And it goes like this:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.


Yes, Jesus, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.” I confess something in me wants to believe Jesus is a great savior without believing I am a gross sinner. It offends my pride, which is another way of saying it stokes my shame. So I will say it here before you, Jesus, not as a self-condemning statement, but as the liberating words of the honest truth—I am a gross sinner. It was far worse than I realized. And I am beginning to now know you are far greater than I ever could have imagined. Something about knowing who I once was opens me up to knowing who you most truly are, and who I am most truly becoming. Yes, Jesus, this is the way. You are the way. Praying in your name, amen.


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