A Note from Hixon Frank
Hixon Frank

Hey Church!

Psalm 51:3

For I am conscious of my rebellion, and my sin is always before me.

As bagel shop cashiers go, he was like most. In his late 20’s, scruffy beard and sandy blond hair. Wearing the obligatory hoody, faded jeans, and white sneakers, he did something I wasn’t expecting … he greeted us with a Texas-sized grin and a “Hey y’all, welcome to Pop Up Bagels!” The place was small, so when he robustly greeted Margie and me, everyone in the bagel shop “felt” it. His thick Texas accent was probably received by some in the crowded shop with a chuckle or smirk, but to us it was “water for our souls!” You see, we were not in Tyler, or even Texas, but in the heart of Soho, a neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, New York! For a couple days we had been surrounded by strangers who lived in “boroughs,” “schlepped” into “Bodegas,” ordered “cawfee” and a bagel with “schmear,” fumbled with their “caw-kis” (car keys), while wearing “caw-kis” (khakis)! So, to hear a “normal person” speak the “King’s English” (Texan) helped us to “fogeddaboutit! 

It turns out that he was from Houston. We immediately connected.  He “spoke our language,” understood who we were, and was genuinely interested in our story about why we were there. Though it is an imperfect parallel, God is like the cashier. He speaks our language, understands who we are and is interested in our story.


We are in a short series of articles on some of the different types of prayer. So far, we have covered Adoration, Lament, Thankfulness, Petition. and Deliverance. Today we look at, what I believe is the key to all prayer… CONTRITION.

Contrition is the feeling of remorse and the desire to repent of sin. You are probably familiar with prayers like this, which ask God for forgiveness for things we have done. They are essential prayers that allow us to confess our wrongdoing and reconnect with our forgiving Heavenly Father.

Knowing that God looks at the heart and not the words, several things must be in place when we pray prayers of contrition. So, every prayer must be from a contrite heart.

So, what does a Biblical prayer of contrition demand? 

  1. Genuine remorse (2 Corinthians 7:10)
  2. Humble acknowledgement of one’s sins. (James 4:8-10)
  3. Sincere desire to repent and seek forgiveness. (Acts 3:19)

The best way I can describe the beauty and pain of a contrite prayer is this…

When my son was 8-9 years old, he couldn’t tell a lie very well. Like most young kids, he would not look you in the eyes when he was lying! So, I usually knew when he was being deceitful.

On those occasions when he lied to me (don’t judge I’m sure you have stories about your own kids), I would wait for him to come and seek forgiveness. I wanted him to come to me so the relationship wouldn’t be hindered. I knew he lied; he knew he lied. I would say things like “are you sure you don’t have something to tell me?”

Truthfully, it bothered me when he moved on without a thought about his deceit. When Grayson mustered up the courage to come to me and tell the truth, I would embrace him and explain that I already knew about his dishonestly. I would tell him that “all of those times I asked you if you wanted to share anything with me is when I was hoping you would tell me.” Then I would always (at least I don’t remember missing this) tell him that I was proud of him for pushing past the pain to get close to me again.”

Prayers of contrition can be painful. Admitting our own sin is humbling, even when we know that God forgives richly. That is why so many of us excuse our own behavior or attitudes. But when we push through…when we deal with our own sin…when we confess and repent through contrite prayers of repentance … the result is getting to “look your Heavenly Father in the eyes again”. 

When we sin, God desires “a broken and contrite heart” from us. Check out these three prayers from the Bible for examples of prayers of contrition or asking for forgiveness. 

Psalm 51:1-4

1Be gracious to me, God, according to your faithful love; according to your abundant compassion, blot out my rebellion. Completely wash away my guilt and cleanse me from my sin. For I am conscious of my rebellion, and my sin is always before me. Against you—you alone—I have sinned and done this evil in your sight. So, you are right when you pass sentence; you are blameless when you judge.

Luke 18:9-14

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee was standing and praying like this about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I’m not like other people—greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’

13 “But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather than the other, because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Psalm 32:1-5

1How joyful is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How joyful is a person whom the Lord does not charge with iniquity and in whose spirit is no deceit! When I kept silent, my bones became brittle from my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was drained as in the summer’s heat. Selah Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not conceal my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah

It’s often difficult to admit that we have made mistakes or sinned. God already knows every nuance of us, our day, and what we have thought or done. When we bring those things to Him, He offers us forgiveness and freedom from them. Take a few moments to think through your day and week. Are there things for which you need to ask forgiveness? Are there unresolved things from your past that you want God to forgive? Pray from a contrite heart…and forgiveness awaits!

You are loved and have been prayed for,



As a reminder, the Tyler Campus Worship Center will be open from 11am-1pm on Thursday, May 2, in observance of the National Day of Prayer.   Please take a moment to drop-in and pray for our church, community, state, and nation.