A Service of Confession

from John Hunter’s “Devotional Services for Public Worship” (download)

– this is from a book of prayers and services to help in public worship that is just as easily used as a guide for a time of personal prayer and repentance.  Study the prayers, let them guide you back to the word of scripture, list specific sins that come to mind as you meditate on them. Let these prayers expand your narrow sense of sin and repentance.  Ask God to give you a greater sense of Godly sorrow for your sins and the brokenness of the world.  Commit to spend this time of year, as the church universal prepares for Lent, to stoke the refining fire of repentance in your life.

A Service of Confession

Minister:  If we say that we have no sin,  we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him; neither have we obeyed his voice to walk in the laws which He hath set before us.

Let us pray.

Almighty God, Spirit of Purity and Grace, whose salvation is never very far from the contrite heart, listen to our confessions of sin, and have mercy upon us.

For all the evil past of our lives; for our many refusals of Thy call; for our indolence, vanity, and unfaithfulness:

People: Have mercy on upon us, O Lord.

Minister.  For the sins of care and passion which have estranged our hearts from goodness and dimmed our vision of heavenly things:

People: Have mercy on upon us, O Lord.

Minister:  For the sins and faults of youth which led us early astray from Thy ways and brought upon us many troubles and sorrows:

People: Have mercy on upon us, O Lord.

Minister:  For all our hardness of heart and impenitence of spirit; for our pride, self-sufficiency, and wilful iniquity.

People: Have mercy on upon us, O Lord.

Minister:  For all our forgotten vows, for the better purposes whih we have suffered to grow weak; for the good resolutions we have not kept; for the excuses we have fashioned to hide from ourselves our unfaithful lives.

People: Have mercy on upon us, O Lord.

Minister:  For the sorrows that  have brought now repentance; for all the wholesome teachings of life which have failed to turn our feet to the true and living way.

People: Have mercy on upon us, O Lord.

Minister:  For the secret faults and presumptuous sins which have remained in our lives unrebuked and tolerated, and for all the omissions to deal truly with ourselves.

People: Have mercy on upon us, O Lord.

Minister:  For the words of unjust anger and bitterness whih have escaped our lips; for the strifes and separations which we have inflamed and aided, and for all our sinful neglect to produce peace and good-will among men.

People: Have mercy on upon us, O Lord.

Minister:  For our fretful sufferance of wrong; for the vindictive passions we have cherished; for our intolerance, injustice, and uncharitableness; for our readiness to blame and our want of thoughtfulness, patience,kindness, and sympathy in our social relations.

People: Have mercy on upon us, O Lord.

Minister:  For all the goodness of life which we have received thanklessly; for the strength which we have wasted; for the gifts we have not cultivated; for the opportunities which we have neglected; for all the beauty of this fair world and the love of human hearts which have passed before us and which in our thoughtlessness and care and passion we have not appreciated.

People: Have mercy on upon us, O Lord.

Minister:  For the unworthy doubts of Thee which have clouded our path; for the times when we have forgotten our duties and lost our faith; for the hours when we have yielded to temptation and plucked of the fruit of the forbidden tree.

People: Have mercy on upon us, O Lord.

Minister: For our selfish comfort amid the wrongs, oppressions, and sorrows of life; for our undue and exclusive regard to our own interests; for our lack of brotherhood and neglect of the service of humanity.

People: Have mercy on upon us, O Lord.

Minister: For the counsels of Thy Word which have spoken to us vainly; for the grace and truth of Thy beloved son which we have slighted; for the pleadings of Thy Spirit to which we have not hearkended; for the example of speech and of the true and good which have failed to make us worthier children of Thine; for all the monitions of time and the hereafter which have not made us more serious, earnest, gentle, pure, and rich in faith and charity.

People: Have mercy on upon us, O Lord.

Minister:  For all our sins remembered and forgotten, for the sins we are conscious of, and the sins we are not conscious of because of our sinfulness.

People: Have mercy on upon us, O Lord.

Minister: O God, whose nature and property it is ever to have mercy and to forgive, receive our humble confessions, and though we be tied and bound with the chain of our sins, yet let the pitifulness of Thy great mercy loose us: through Jesus Christ our Lord, who taught us to pray:

Minister and People: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy Name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our trespasses; as we forgive them that trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil: for Thine is the kingdom, power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

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