Ego-Death: A Prayer of Confession

This week I’m in Grand Rapids, MI attending a week-long seminar on Cruciform Humility in Christian Preaching and Worship. Along with 15 other students sitting under Neal Plantinga, Jr. (an exemplar of humility and mentoring, he also wrote a devastating and highly readable book about sin), it’s been a rich, rewarding and refreshing time defining and unpacking cross-shaped humility.

Before our seminar began, we had to submit two prayers fit for congregational worship that promote humility. Here’s a prayer I wrote (with obvious and unapologetic allusions to John Donne, St. Augustine, Robert Bellah, and Phillip Bliss, and who knows what else):

A Prayer for Ego-Death

Batter my heart, three-person’d God.

Take your wrecking ball of holy grace

and obliterate my prideful Self.

You know how much I love Me,

recklessly pursuing my wayward loves no matter the cost.

But the carnage is clear.

In thought, word and deed,

by what I’ve done,

and by what I’ve left undone,

I’ve dirtied my relationship with you and others.

There is no health in me.

And no matter how hard I try,

I can’t renovate this rebel heart.

Please have mercy on me.

Please help me.

Please forgive me.

Remove the hardened, hurtful habits of my sinful heart.

Reorder my disordered loves.

Renew my love for you and others.

I ask these things because of Christ who,

“bearing shame and scoffing rude,

in my place condemned he stood,

Sealed my pardon with his blood,

Hallelujah! What a Savior!”

Amen

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Sin: An Essential 15 Minute Primer

What is sin?

Why is it such a big deal?

Who’s to blame?

What can be done about it?

Neal Plantinga answers these questions about sin in this brief video, which warrants repeat viewings:

Read Plantinga’s excellent essay about sin here.

Also read Plantinga’s devastatingly sublime book Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin.