Prayer of Manasseh
Originally scheduled for November 10
Most Protestants are unfamiliar with a section
of Scripture entitled the Apocrypha. These works are recognized by
the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches as being useful in
instruction, but are commonly ignored by Protestants. One such work
is the Prayer of Manasseh, in which a King of Israel, in captivity,
prays for his forgiveness and release. His prayer ends this way:
I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned, and I acknowledge mine
iniquities: wherefore, I humbly beseech thee, forgive me, O Lord,
forgive me, and destroy me not with mine iniquities. Be not angry
with me for ever, by reserving evil for me; neither condemn me to
the lower parts of the earth. For thou art the God, even the God of
them that repent; and in me thou wilt shew all thy goodness: for
thou wilt save me, that am unworthy, according to thy great mercy.
Therefore I will praise thee for ever all the days of my life: for
all the powers of the heavens do praise thee, and thine is the glory
for ever and ever. Amen.
(Prayer of Manasseh 1:12-15 Brenton)
Manasseh identifies God here as “the God of
them that repent.” It is an encouraging thought. It means God does
not separate out the repentant from those who need no repentance. As
long as repentance is offered, God is still the God of the
repentant. This, no doubt, comes from the fact that it is his will
that all might be saved. The attitude is touchingly expressed in the
parable of the Prodigal Son. When the boy came back, the Father ran
to him. He is truly “the God of them that repent.”
Indeed, God the father is incredibly merciful
to us. What does he ask from us in order that we might repent and be
He asks that we confess our sins. He
knows what we’ve done; he wants us to acknowledge it.
Then, to be explicit, he wants us to
ask for forgiveness. He’s not asking us to present our sins and our
excuses; rather our sins and asking forgiveness for them.
In so doing, we must acknowledge that
we believe that he is God and is both capable and willing to
And after that, what should we do? Have you
ever had the problem of repentance followed by I don’t know what to
do? The answer is simple: praise. Praise him for being the God he
is; the God of them repent.
Did you know that you do this in communion? In
taking his body and blood, you acknowledge that his sacrifice on the
cross was not just a meaningless gesture, but rather the source of
your salvation. Without the shedding of blood there is no
forgiveness of sin, the Scripture tells us. So when you take the
body and blood, you are proclaiming that his sacrifice was necessary
for you. He is your God; the God of them that repent.
Therefore, take this communion seriously.
Examine yourself, and repent as you need. Then partake,
acknowledging that his body and blood are given for you.