Puritan theologian John Owen wrote the classic work The Mortification of Sin in 1656 to analyze and apply what Paul meant in Romans 8:13 when he said, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
Owen has much to share about the important topic of killing our sin including what we need to believe about our common struggle, what mortifying sin is and isn’t, and practical principles for putting your sin to death. Below is a prayer based on the book that should help us mortify our sin and live in joyful obedience to Christ:
Most Gracious Heavenly Father,
I come to you a needy and contrite sinner,
with no power on my own to put to death the deeds of the body.
Daily come to my aid making it my business
to mortify the indwelling power of sin in my life.
May I never attempt to mortify in my own strength,
forgetting that without Your Spirit my efforts will be in vain.
Lord, through Your Spirit help me put to death
the subtle and crafty strength of the enemy.
As I wake each day, give me strength to remember my task of killing sin,
and remember that sin will kill me if I do not kill it.
Keep me from ever letting up in my battle with sin,
knowing constantly that sin will take advantage.
Help my heart abound in grace that flows from your Spirit,
and destroy in my heart the consuming lust for sin.
Give me a life characterized by the mortification of sin,
and give me life, vigor and comfort
for my life and for that battle.
Lord, each day remind me to strive after total obedience,
and so weaken the power of sin upon my life.
Aid me to know the methods and occasions for sin’s success,
and to fight and contend constantly for holiness.
May I constantly be aware of the guilt, danger, and evil of sin,
knowing that without you, I fall into a seared conscience,
hardness of heart, and deception of my soul.
Lord grant that your holy law is always upon my mind,
so that it may guide me and cause me to fear you.
By the graces of Your Spirit,
implant humility to weaken pride,
purity of mind to cleanse uncleanness,
heavenly-mindedness to counter a love for this world.
May Your Spirit,
cause my heart to abound in grace and the fruits that are contrary to the flesh,
consume and expose the root of my sin,
bring the cross of Christ into my heart through faith.
For it is only by gazing at the grace displayed on the cross of Christ
that I will be able experience its sin killing power.
I pray this in the powerful name of Jesus Christ that is above every name,