“I confess the sins we Israelites,
including myself and my father’s family,
have committed against you.
We have acted very wickedly toward you.
We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws
you gave your servant Moses.”
Nehemiah 1:7

I believe the two hardest kinds of prayers to pray are 1) prayers of praise to God, and 2) prayers of confession to God. But this is how Nehemiah began his heartfelt prayer: First with praise, then with confession.
It is hard for us to praise God for who he is because it means taking all the focus off of ourselves and only reflecting on how great God is. It is hard to confess our sins because it means putting all the focus on us, and reflecting on how we have failed our God.
But confession is good for the soul. It really is.
When is the last time you knelt before God and very purposely and specifically confessed how you have wronged him?
Nehemiah admitted he was a sinner and asked forgiveness. But he also asked forgiveness for his family and for his nation.
The challenge today is to take some time to confess our sins, and the sins of our community, and the sins of our church. (After all, there are no perfect churches, right?)
And of course, to confess the sins of our nation. (II Chronicles 7:14)
If we want God’s blessing we have to ask first for his forgiveness, and we have to seek to be set free from the sins that so easily entangle us.