Prayers of Confession and Pardon

O Holy One, we call to you and name you as eternal, ever-present, and boundless in love. Yet there are times, O God, when we fail to recognize you in the dailyness of our lives. Sometimes shame clenches tightly around our hearts, and we hide our true feelings. Sometimes fear makes us small, and we miss the chance to speak from our strength. Sometimes doubt invades our hopefulness, and we degrade our own wisdom.

Holy God, in the daily round from sunrise to sunset, remind us again of your holy presence hovering near us and in us. Free us from shame and self-doubt. Help us to see you in the moment-by-moment possibilities to live honestly, to act courageously, and to speak from our wisdom.


Dear Heavenly Father, we lower our heads before you and we confess that we have too often forgotten that we are yours. Sometimes we carry on our lives as if there was no God and we fall short of being a credible witness to You. For these things we ask your forgiveness and we also ask for your strength. Give us clear minds and open hearts so we may witness to You in our world. Remind us to be who You would have us to be regardless of what we are doing or who we are with. Hold us to You and build our relationship with You and with those You have given us on earth.


Almighty and most merciful Father, we have erred and strayed from Your ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against Your holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done; and there is nothing good in us. O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore those who are penitent; according to Your promises declared unto men in Christ Jesus our Lord. Grant that we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life; to the glory of His name. Amen


Almighty God, who does freely pardon all who repent and turn to Him, now fulfill in every contrite heart the promise of redeeming grace; forgiving all our sins, and cleansing us from an evil conscience; through the perfect sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

The Book of Common Worship, 1946


Gracious God, our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo. Forgive what our lips tremble to name, what our hearts can no longer bear, and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgment. Set us free from a past that we cannot change; open to us a future in which we can be changed; and grant us grace to grow more and more in your likeness and image, through Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Amen.

From the PCUSA Book of Common Worship
Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1993; p. 88


Psalm 103.8,10-12

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. He has not dealt wit us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.


Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Episcopal Book of Common Prayer


Almighty God, since thou delayst with so much forbearance the punishments which we have deserved and daily draw on ourselves, grant that we may not indulge ourselves but carefully consider how often and in how many different ways we have provoked thy wrath against us. May we learn humbly to present ourselves to thee for pardon, and with true repentance implore thy mercy. With all our heart we desire to submit ourselves to thee, whether thou chastisest us, or according to thine infinite goodness, forgivest us. Let our condition be ever blessed, not by flattering ourselves in our apathy, but by finding thee to be our kind and bountiful Father, reconciled to us in thine only-begotten Son. Amen.

By Calvin, taken from Prayers of the Reformers compiled by Clyde Manschreck


I have betrayed

Leader: Lord, I have betrayed you
By following my own way.

All: I have denied you
By fearing to follow yours.

Leader: And I have mocked you
By not taking your death seriously.

All: Lord, I am lost.
Let your forgiveness find me.

Leader: Hold me in your strong arms
And give me your new life.

All: Live in me and with me day by day,
That together we may make a world
That is new.

Taken from Be Our Freedom, Lord prepared and edited by Terry C. Falla


Paradoxes

O Changeless God,
Under the conviction of the Spirit I learn that
The more I do, the worse I am,
The more I know, the less I know,
The more holiness I have, the mores sinful I am,
The more I love, the more there is to love.
O wretched man that I am!

O Lord,
I have a wild heart
And cannot stand before thee;
I am like a bird before a man.
How little I love thy truth and ways!
I neglect prayer,
By thinking I have prayed enough and earnestly,
By knowing thou hast saved my soul.
Of all hypocrites, grant that I may not be an evangelical hypocrite,
Who sins more safely because grace abounds,
Who tells his lusts that Christís blood cleanseth them,
Who reasons that God cannot cast him into hell, for his is saved,
Who loves evangelical preaching, churches, Christians, but lives
Unholily.
My mind is a bucket without a bottom,
With no spiritual understanding,
No desire for the Lordís Day,
Ever learning but never reaching the truth,
Always at the gospel-well but never holding water.
My conscience is without conviction or contrition,
With nothing to repent of.
My will is without power of decision or resolution.
My heart is without affection, and full of leaks.
My memory has no retention,
So I forget so easily the lessons learned,
And thy truths seep away.
Give me a broken heart that yet carries home the water of grace.

Taken from The Valley of Vision edited by Arthur Bennett


Leader: God is light; in him there in no darkness at all.
If we claim to have fellowship with him,
yet walk in the darkness,
we lie and son not live by the truth.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of Jesus, his Son,
purifies us from sin.
If we claim to be without sin, we
deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (John 1:5b-8)

People: Most holy and merciful Father,
We confess to you and to one another,
that we have sinned against you
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our
whole heart and mind and strength.
We have not fully loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We have not always had in us the mind of Christ.
You alone know how often we have grieved you
by wasting your gifts, by wandering from your ways.
Forgive us, we pray you, most merciful Father;
And free us from our sin.
Renew in us the grace and strength of your Holy Spirit,
for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen.

Psalter Hymnal,
Grand Rapids: CRC Publications, 1987


Eternal God, in whom we live and move and have our being, whose face is hidden from us by our sins, and whose mercy we forget in the blindness of our hearts: cleanse us from all our offenses, and deliver us from proud thoughts and vain desires, that with reverent and humble hearts we may draw near to you, confessing our faults, confiding in your grace, and finding in you our refuge and strength; through Jesus Christ your Son.

Book of Common Worship,
Louisville: Westminster/John Know Press, 1993


Holy god, Lord most gracious!
Rebuke us not in your anger, nor chasten us in your wrath!
Holy you have called us to come to you.
We feel unworthy, for we have failed you again and again.
We feel like running away, yet you keep calling us.
Have mercy on us, O God.
Have mercy!

Holy God, Father most gracious!
Rebuke us not in your anger, nor chasten us in your wrath!
Heal us from our sin, for we are troubled.
Deliver us for the sake of your steadfast love.
Our sins trouble us, O God.
We are troubled by how they have hurt others.
We are troubled by how they have hurt us.
Your ways are right! O righteous God!
And whenever we have refused to follow them
we have found out how right they are.
Have mercy on us, O God.

Holy God, God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us for the sake of your Son,
who died to free us from our sins.
To you be honor and glory! Amen.

Hughes Oliphant Old,
Leading in Prayer,
The Book of Common Worship (1932)
,
Grand Rapids: Erdmans Publishing, 1995


Almighty Father; we enter your presence confessing the things we try to conceal from you and the things we try to conceal from others. We confess the heartbreak, worry, and sorrow we have caused, that make it difficult for others to forgive us, the times we have made it easy for others to do wrong, the harm we have done that makes it hard for us to forgive ourselves. Lord have mercy and forgive us through Christ. Amen.

Paul E. Engle,
Bakerís Worship Handbook,
Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1998


God, be merciful to me;
On Thy grace I rest my plea;
In Thy vast, abounding grace,
My transgressions all erase.
Wash me wholly from my sin;
Cleanse from every ill within.

For my sins before me rise,
Ever present to my eyes.
I have sinned Ďgainst Thee alone.
In Thy sight this evil done;
That Thy judgment may be clear,
And Thy sentence just appear.

Lo, brought forth was I in sin;
When conceived I was unclean.
Lo, Thou dost desire to find
Truth sincere within the mind:
And Thou wilt within my heart
Wisdom unto me impart.

Then with hyssop sprinkle me,
And form sin I clean shall be.
Wash me from its stain, and lo,
I shall whiter be than snow.
Make me hear joyís cheering voice;
Make my broken bones rejoice.

From my sins hide Thou Thy face;
My iniquities erase.
O my God, renew my heart,
And a spirit right impart.
Cast me not away from Thee,
Nor Thy Spirit take form me.

Give salvationísí joy again,
And a willing mind sustain.
Then thy perfect ways Iíll show
That transgressors may them know;
They converted then shall be
Sinners shall be turned to Thee. Amen. (Psalm 51)

Trinity Psalter,
Pittsburgh: Crown & Covenant Publications, 1994