A Prayer of Confession

Read: Ezra 9

As soon as I heard this, I tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and sat appalled. (v. 3)

The book of Ezra suddenly gets very personal! This section is written in the first person as Ezra shares his reaction to the news of the nation’s continued sin. We see what broke the heart of Ezra—a heart that was truly devoted to God.

After Ezra’s arrival in Jerusalem, the officials came to reveal what was going on in the community. Some of the very sins that had led God to judge the nation were now being repeated—sins that had led to the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of its people. Many of the Jews had intermarried with the idol-worshiping peoples of the region—a practice forbidden by God (see Deut. 7:3). Ezra immediately saw the implications and the danger of the situation. He mourned for the nation’s sin, tearing his clothes and even pulling out his own hair and beard! His prayer before God is a remarkable example of what it means to confess true guilt and grief because of sin.

Ezra’s heart was clearly broken by the disobedience of his people—even the very leaders of the Jews. What breaks your heart as a follower of God? We are rarely convicted of sin the way that Ezra was—whether it’s our sin as a nation or our own personal sin. But Ezra, who loved God’s Word, was willing to be broken by what breaks the heart of God. —Laura N. Sweet

As you pray, consider the sins that break the heart of God.

About the Author

Laura Sweet

Laura N. Sweet is a wife, mother, grandmother, and former Christian schoolteacher from Midland, Michigan. She writes devotional material for both adults and children, and her work has appeared in more than a dozen publications.

This entry is part 8 of 16 in the series Faithful among the Ruins

I Am