While corporate repentance and identificational repentance may be very similar in the content of the prayers, corporate repentance is done by a group or a representation of the group.
Daniel prayed individually for his nation (Indentificational repentance), however, in one of the biggest examples of corporate repentance, the city of Nineveh all came together to repent. It had dramatic results! A city doomed for destruction was saved! God heard the prayers of a pagan city and turned away the judgement He had declared through Jonah. The king of Nineveh himself bowed low in sackcloth and ashes and required everyone to do the same. He decreed: “But let man and beast be covered with sackcloths and cry mightily to God; yes let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?”Jonah 3:8-9
in 1977 South Africa experienced a severe drought. The president of the country called for a national day of repentance. Masses of people left their workplace at lunchtime and filled churches everywhere, earnestly repenting and seeking the Lord. Just a few days later, the rains came!
Down through history there have been remarkable answers to prayer when people corporately repented! It’s surprising we don’t see more of it. Well, maybe not… It can be hard for us to humble ourselves and see the need. It can be easier to complain, seek other solutions or just numb out, explaining that its “just the way things are.”
When God begins to stir leaders for a time of corporate repentance, whether spontaneous or planned, let’s jump in and see what God will do! He delights in showing mercy!
Sometimes corporate repentance may be done as one group repenting to another group for wrongs committed or attitudes that held them apart. At these times, instead of sackcloth and ashes used in Biblical times, corporate repentance might be accompanied by acts such as foot washing that show heartfelt sorrow for pain caused to another race or gender.
How do we know when we’ve repented enough? When we see the fruits of repentance in those barriers, outward and inward, removed and sweet fellowship restored. Its not about a one time act, but about our lives being transformed in love for one another.
Is God stirring your heart toward repentance? If no one around you is moving this direction, pray identificational prayers of repentance. If there is an openness, share what God is putting on your heart with your leaders, maybe its time for some corporate repentance.