It is easy to confess that you are a sinner in a general sense. After all, as we are all sinners, you are not actually confessing anything personal or unusual. I think growth in godliness requires more than this. If we want to get better at resisting temptation or dealing with the sins we commonly fall into, then we need to be more specific. Instead of praying, “Lord, I am a sinner, forgive me”, try praying “Lord, I have a big problem with greed, and I find myself worrying about money and dreaming of riches all the time instead of being passionate about your Word and service.”
In the last blog post (which you can read here), we unpacked what it meant to train for godliness. Paul instructed Timothy not to assume that he would grow in his godly character but to work at it regularly and with intention. That meant that growing in godliness requires a plan and not just waiting for God to change us.
I do understand that all this talk of having a plan and training in godliness might give us the wrong idea. It is not like we do all the work and God is not involved. Growing in godliness is not just some kind of self-improvement project. No, God is the one who changes us (1 Thess 5:23, Heb 13:20-21), but we are not passive in the process. As we work towards godliness, God is pleased to work in us by his Spirit to make us more like Jesus (Phil 2:12-13).
In today’s blog post, I want us to think about one part of what that might look like. Prayer should be a significant part of training in godliness.