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Mar 03, 2024

True Repentance Depends on Prayer: A Sufferer’s Prayer

True Repentance Depends on Prayer: A Sufferer’s Prayer

Passage: Job 42:1-6

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: Practice the Presence - Prayer

Keywords: see, repent, know, hear, understand, marvelous

Lent is that season in the church calendar meant to underscore what has no season, what is necessary in every season–namely, repentance. It is a life. During these next weeks of Lent until Easter we’re going to look at several prayers that are themselves acts of repentance. Implicit in our choice to focus on prayers like that is the belief that there is no true repentance that does not include–that does not begin with and get hashed out through–praying. This week we will listen to a prayer of repentance from Job. But repentance from what? And how did it happen? And what was the outcome? And moreover, what in that prayer of repentance is relevant to us?

Readings & Scripture

PREPARATION: Psalm 139:1-6

LEADER: O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.

ALL: You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.

LEADER: Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.

ALL: Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.


LEADER: What is your only comfort in life and in death?

ALL: That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil. He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation. Therefore, by his Holy Spirit he also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for him

CENTRAL TEXT: Job 42:1-6
Job 42:1 Then Job answered the LORD and said:

Job 42:2 “I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
3 ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
4 ‘Hear, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.’
5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;
6 therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.”

LEADER: In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

ALL: Amen


  1. It’s a question we’ve asked in these pages before. Still worth asking again: when did you first realize that this world was not a safe place? When its capacity for harm, disappointment, loss, disorientation, or worse finally became real to you?
  2. Job undergoes two waves of devastations. What is his first instinct in those losses?
  3. When the devastations find no redress, or redemption, how does his instinct change?
  4. His three friends sympathize with him for a season and then make their own conclusions to explain his plight. What are the different reasons they come up with? What common theme do all their reasons center on?
  5. What questions does Job begin to ask? What deductions does he begin to make? But what would you say is his final conclusion?
  6. And what then is the Lord’s response to him? What answer does the Lord provide–and to which question of Job’s does it respond to?
  7. To refresh your memory from the sermon, Job’s complaint in light of his suffering, and what he ends up repenting of, is a conclusion that God is incompetent. Why can you see that as understandable thought on Job’s part? But why is even that thought loaded with unverifiable, unprovable assumptions?
  8. What does it take for Job to soften and repent? Why might we need something similar were we in similar circumstances?
  9. How is Jesus, His sufferings, and what they accomplished (as well as what else Jesus taught us–cf. John 9, Luke 13:1-5) like what Job received from the Lord in Job 38-41? How might the Holy Spirit be involved in the same agent in our repentance?






  • Everything difficult indicates something more than our theory of life yet embraces. . . . - George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons
  • if, in a word, my own being is every way too much for me; if I can neither understand it, be satisfied with it, nor better it—may it not well give me pause—the pause that ends in prayer? - George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons


Teach us to Pray, Alexander Whyte