An Everyday, Ordinary Liturgy (Prayer of Confession)

Maundy Thursday Communion Prayer and ConfessionPrayers of confession are opportunities to come clean before God, to open up our lives to the One who already knows us inside and out. The word confession means to “agree with” and when the people of God confess their sins they are, in a sense, coming into agreement with God about their state of sinfulness.

John Ortberg says that a sinner’s favorite prayer is “Lord, don’t watch me now.”

There is a rich tradition of prayers of confession in the Scriptures and perhaps the best example is found in the prayer of David as recorded in Psalm 51:3-5:

“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”

The Anglican tradition includes this potent prayer in its’ Book of Common Prayer:

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.

What might an everyday, ordinary prayer of confession look like?

Take a few moments to scan the headlines. More often that not, they are dominated by bad news rather than good news. Instead of being quick to judge others, take the opportunity to examine your own heart. The truth is the bad news is only out there, it’s inside of each of us and all of us. As the sinfulness of your heart is revealed, use this ancient prayer:

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.”

Or perhaps as your day comes to a close, take a few moments to scroll through your day. In what ways have you failed to love God with your whole heart? In what ways have you failed to love your neighbor, your spouse, your co-workers and others as yourself?

Examine your heart with the words from Psalm 139:23-24:

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

I invite you to visit out my Indiegogo project, A Movable Feast: Worship for the Other Six Days. This book is designed to help the people of God live out the call to worship Monday – Saturday. This book has been percolating within me for quite some time now and with your help the dream can become a reality.

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