Disconnect: When Martin Luther pounded the 95 Theses into the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg, Germany he began with the simple but profound statement that, “the entire life of believers [is] to be one of repentance.” Luther’s actions began the Protestant Reformation, abandoning the then-current practice of indulgences for a lifestyle of repentance. Repentance requires a sometimes painful examination of our lives and submission to a standard outside of ourselves. Because of this, just a few hundred years later, and downstream from the movement which Luther’s words and sacrificial actions began, the idea of repentance ranges anywhere from foreign to offensive for many.
Immovable: The prayer that consumes most of Daniel 9 is, “aflame with the purifier of sincere repentance,” says F.M. Wood. Daniel cries out, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules.” The contrast between a broken people and a God who is immovable in faithfulness could not be stronger. Because God’s faithfulness cannot be shaken or diminished he is able to both establish a standard for life and offer forgiveness without compromise, albeit at great cost to himself.
Repentance: Daniel’s prayer seeks repentance for national abandonment of the Covenant—it cut to the deepest part of the prophetic heart in his day. For modern Christians, our wounds run no less shallow and may feel intensely more personal. In many ways, repentance is the process of revealing our deepest hurts and asking God to restore us where nothing else can. The full process of repentance in Christ is re-humanizing, brimming with grace, and overflowing with love. It leaves us stunned by the grace that renews us. We walk away with a new name – one that speaks not of our pain, but of our journey and interaction with a God who is, as Nehemiah says, “ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love – a God who does not forsake us.” 
Prayer: Lord, thank you for being slow to anger and abounding in love. Like Adam hiding in the garden we find hurt and shame driving us from the one who can heal us. Restore us, O Lord, let us see the joy of your salvation. Give us life and heal us through the power of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
 Wood, F. M. (1972). Daniel. In H. F. Paschall & H. H. Hobbs (Eds.), The Teacher’s Bible commentary (p. 532). Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers. |  Neh 9.17