Bedtime was fast approaching. “Time to take a shower and get ready for bed,” I called out to my son.
“I’m not dirty! I took a shower yesterday!” he replied.
“Well… but you’ve been playing soccer today and you’ve been outside on the playground. You need to wash off the sweat and dirt. You are dirty and you kindof smell.”
Reluctantly he replied, “Fine! I’ll take a shower, but do I have to use soap?”
Not an uncommon scene for most parents, especially little boys who are too busy to notice the dirt, grime, and sweat. My little one, who hates to get his hands dirty and refuses to do messy art projects, is often oblivious to the other dirt he picks up throughout the day. He doesn’t notice his own ‘funk’ that settles in after an afternoon of playing sports or running around with the neighborhood kids.
As much as we may sit here and laugh about the folly of youth, don’t we do the same thing with our sin? We walk around every day picking up more ‘dirt’ in our lives. We sin daily because we’re human. We live in a sinful, broken world and can’t help but pick up some of its dirt and grime as we go along. Yet, do we regularly take the time to wash it off – with the soap of our faith – and cleanse ourselves?
Cleansing with the Soap of Faith
At our baptism, God washed away our sins through his grace. Yet, we must continue to ask for cleansing as we go through life – not to be baptized again, but as purification to help us in the journey of becoming closer to the image of Christ.
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of maturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (Romans 12:1-2 The Message)
This is how we purify ourselves, continually, until we become perfected in the image of Christ. We need to regularly come before God and give Him our lives as an offering. Ask Him to cleanse us with the soap of His grace and mercy. Wash with the waters of prayer, fasting, and trial.Ask #God to cleanse you with the soap of His #grace and mercy. Purify yourself through #Prayer Click To Tweet
Purification Through Prayer
Prayer is a crucial way we come before God and ask for cleansing.
Prayer is a way we acknowledge to God our filth and ask Him to wash us clean again.
Prayer is a way we ask for God’s help to not walk through that mud puddle again, but to help us find a cleaner path.
Prayer is how we recommit ourselves to God time and again, fixing our eyes on Him, and setting ourselves apart from the world around us.
Prayer is how we remove our dirt and leave it behind for good.
I love the direct way that James tells us how to submit and purify ourselves, especially in this translation from The Message:
So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet. (James 4:7-10 The Message)
P.A.S.T. – A Template to Pray for Purification
I’ve created this template to help you pray for purification, this prayer to ask God to cleanse you from the dirt you’ve accumulated and to help you stay cleaner the next day.
P. A. S. T. (Praise – Acknowledgement – Supplication – Thanksgiving)
Purification is about taking our past and laying it at God’s feet – and then leaving it there. Don’t go back later and bring it home with you. Let the dirt be washed down the drain forever. Leave your sin and burdens in the past, step fully into the present cleansed through Christ, then, with God’s help, try to stay cleaner as you walk into the future.
Start with praise to get your heart in the right place and focused on God.
We have to acknowledge and confess our sins. Own up that you’re dirty and need a shower. Then, hand over that dirt to God and allow Him to wash you clean.
Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble. (Proverbs 28:13-14)
Ask for God’s help to do better next time and for His guidance to stay away from that sin. Ask for help to find a cleaner path to travel.
“With weeping they will come,
And by supplication I will lead them;
I will make them walk by streams of waters,
On a straight path in which they will not stumble;
For I am a father to Israel,
And Ephraim is My firstborn.” (Jeremiah 31:9 NASB)
In all things, thank God for His greatness, His forgiveness, His mercy, and His grace.
In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NASB)