15 Their minds are dull and slow to perceive, their ears are plugged and are hard of hearing, and they have deliberately shut their eyes to the truth. Otherwise they would open their eyes to see, and open their ears to hear, and open their minds to understand. Then they would turn to me and let me instantly heal them. Matthew 13:15 (TPT)
Repentance is like medicine.
Repentance is akin to taking the pink medicine your parents would give you as a kid when you were sick. It tasted like rancid milk and would make me want to gag. The medicine wouldn’t go down smoothly, but it helped me to feel better and heal the infection in my body. Repentance works the same way because, in our repentance, there is healing.
Continuing with the series based on the acronym for P.R.A.Y.E.R., we’re focused this week on the second letter R for REPENTANCE or REPENT in the word PRAYER. The basic definition of repentance is turning away from sin. We may feel remorse or regret of having done something wrong. However, even beyond a feeling of remorse, and a turning away from sin, to repent means “to change one’s mind.” The Bible also tells us that true repentance will result in a change of actions (Luke 3:8–14; Acts 3:19).
When we repent, a beautiful exchange happens.
An important part of prayer is repentance. Paul tells us in Romans 3:23 that all of us have sinned. All of us have fallen short of the glory, so as fallen, sinful human beings, we need forgiveness from God.
The wonderful news is when we pray and ask God to forgive us for things we’ve done or said, the healing process can begin. When we repent, a beautiful exchange happens. We give God our illness, and in exchange, we receive His forgiveness and healing in our hearts and mind.
The healing that takes place through prayer because of our repentance is most visible in salvation. The citizens of Nineveh understood this well.
In Chapter 3 of the Book of Jonah, God gave Jonah a direct order to preach to the people in the city of Nineveh who were under God’s judgment because their deeds were wicked. Jonah, unwillingly, did what God asked Him to do and the people of Nineveh, including their king, listened and believed not Jonah, but God.
Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.” 5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. 6 Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. - Jonah 3:1-2, 5-6
The Ninevites were ready and willing to hear what Jonah, the prophet, (a person who speaks on behalf of God), had to say. They repented and changed their hearts and minds toward God. The result, God spared their city from the coming judgment against their land and received God’s salvation:
10 Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.
We are healed when we repent.
Jesus in explaining the parables to His disciples in Matthew 13:15 reveals the correlation of our healing through repentance and turning our hearts towards Him.
15 Their minds are dull and slow to perceive,[a] their ears are plugged and are hard of hearing, and they have deliberately shut their eyes to the truth. Otherwise they would open their eyes to see, and open their ears to hear, and open their minds to understand. Then they would turn to me and let me instantly heal them.
This passage unveils the Lord’s heart for us to receive and understand His Word with our spiritual eyes, ears, and with an open heart. Through the power of prayer with a repentant heart, when we let Him, God will instantly heal our pain of a broken relationship, a marriage, or sinful behavior.
During a tough time in ministry, while working with a former Pastor as his assistant at our church, we found ourselves constantly butting heads. He could be somewhat controlling over things he had given me to do.
My behavior wasn’t pristine either in how I approached the situation. I had to fervently seek the Lord, repent, and ask His forgiveness. I also asked the Lord to guard my heart against any bitterness that might develop. Well, friends, God answered my prayer and my relationship with my pastor became restored. That process, allowed God to heal my heart. It was a hard season for sure, but I learned a valuable lesson: In my repentance, there was healing.
We are healed when we repent.
Although repentance is not easy, it is an important part of our prayer life and helps us to have a flourishing relationship with God.
The prayer of repentance can quench our soul like a tornado in a desert. Having said that let’s receive from the Lord what He tells us in Isaiah 1:18:
18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool."