I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed:
“O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.”
The prayer of corporate confession is an often overlooked prayer but it is nonetheless powerful. As Daniel studies the scriptures, he realizes that Israel’s captivity is almost up according to prophecy. He turns to God in prayer because of this.
Daniel prays on behalf of the nation of Israel and confesses their sins. He not only acknowledges the sins of the nation but he includes himself as a part of the group. Daniel was not guilty of the sins that caused the people to go into captivity but he confesses the sins as if they were his own.
Behind the idea of corporate confession is corporate responsibility. Individually a person may not be guilty of a particular sin but as a group a set of people may be sinful and an individual is a part of that group. This works in both directions. God blessed Israel as a nation even though there were individuals that didn’t deserve it. When God punished the nation, not every person was guilty of every sin that the group was punished for (but still no one is sinless.)
The sin of a nation is not the same as the sin of an individual. This does not affect anyone’s salvation. Likewise, one person can’t ask for forgiveness for another person with regard to salvation. Corporate confession is pleading for a group of people who are sinful and all may not be repentant.