Unburdening Our Hearts with the Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. . . .
[Let us confess the ways that we have been infatuated with making our name great rather than our Father’s]

Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. . . .
[Let us confess the ways that we have pursued our kingdom and our wills more than God’s]

Give us this day our daily bread. . . .
[Let us confess all of our ways of self-sufficiency and acknowledge our dependence]

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. . . .
[Let us confess the ways that we have not pursued forgiveness and interpersonal reconciliation]

And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. . . .
[Let us confess our own personal struggles with temptation and evil]

For the kingdom and the power and the glory are yours forever. Amen.
[Let us confess the ways that we look to others things other than our King for satisfaction, beauty and worth]

—based on Matthew 6:9-13

Confessing Our Sin… Experiencing His Grace

Gracious Father, to enrich us will not diminish your fullness

for all your lovingkindness is in your Son.

We come pleading His blood to pay for our debts of wrong.

Accept his worthiness for our unworthiness;

his sinlessness for our transgression;

his purity for our uncleanness;

his sincerity for our hypocrisy;

his truth for our deceits;

his meekness for our pride;

his constancy for our backslidings;

his love for our selfishness;

his fullness for our emptiness;

his faithfulness for our treachery;

his obedience for our lawlessness;

his glory for our shame;

his devotedness for our waywardness;

his holy life for our impurity;

his righteousness for our own filthy rags;

his death for our life. Amen.

– Adapted from The Valley of Vision, p. 157.

Confession of Sin – Palm Sunday

Forgiving Father, Your Son came as the gentle King of Glory.

He rode a donkey not a stallion.

He humbled and sacrificed himself in order to bring us peace with You.

We confess our own lack of humility. Forgive us for the lack of gentleness in our lives. Our harsh words have stirred up strife and dissension. Our angry tempers have hurt those we love.

Long ago the crowd with incessant hallelujahs greeted our Savior, but how quickly they mocked as he went lonely to the cross. Forgive us for the ways that we, too, have welcomed Him only in words and resisted His kingship.

May Your Son not find in our hearts another place of crucifixion, but a place of love, loyalty, and devotion fit for such a gentle and humble King. Mold us into the gentle ways of Jesus in whose name we pray, AMEN.

Confession of Sin – The Emmaus Walk

This prayer of confession of sin is based upon Luke 24 which chronicles the Emmaus walk.

O Almighty God, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, we are unworthy of Your redeeming grace. We have not believed Your promises, nor trusted in You, our living Lord. Through worldliness of spirit, we have not discerned Your presence with us. Through discontentment in our minds and disappointments in our lives, our hearts have not burned within us as we have heard Your Word. We have not trusted in Your redeeming power, and have been overcome by evil. We have forgotten the joy of Christ’s victory over death, and ignore the things that belong to our peace. So now in humility we come to You, begging Your forgiveness. Mercifully grant us release from all our sins and restore to us the joy of Your salvation, for Christ’s sake, our risen Lord and heavenly advocate.  AMEN.

 

Confessing Our Sins Together – based upon Luke 16:19-31

AFFIRMING JUSTICE AND MERCY
“Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps. “But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”  – Amos 5:23-24

He has show you O man; What is good and what does the Lord require of you;
But to do justly, to love mercy And to walk humbly with your God?                          – Micah 6:8

Whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.    – 1 John 3:17-18

CONFESSING OUR SINS TOGETHER

For the times that we have been heartless to people in genuine need…         Forgive us O Lord!
For the ways that our pride has quenched our compassion towards others…Forgive us O Lord!
For the ways that we have helped ourselves and impatiently waited on your help… Forgive us O Lord!
For the ways that we selfishly squandered your resources and your money…. Forgive us O Lord!
For the ways that we misread and ignore Your Word to justify our lifestyle… Forgive us O Lord!
For the ways that we have sought the approval of men over Yours… Forgive us O Lord!

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – 1 John 2:1-2a

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins…

Take a moment and thank your Savior that He serves as your heavenly defense attorney and that He is not ashamed to call you his brother… his sister. He has paid fully your debt and mine.

Prayer of Confession of Sin – Based on Luke 12:32-48

Generous Father,
Giving causes You great happiness.
Thank you for gladly desiring to give us the Kingdom of Heaven.
Forgive us for doubting Your generous heart.
We battle unbelief and even sweat the small stuff.
Fears and anxieties about temporal things consume us:
What we eat, what we drink, what we wear.
How we look, where we live and how much we make.
Forgive us for our hot pursuit of other things
More than You and Your kingdom.

Too often we live as if we are owners and not stewards.
Too often our sense of identity
comes from what we do instead of to whom we belong.
We are Your servants and You are our master.
Have mercy upon us and pardon us in Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Why do we corporately confess our sins in public worship?

Here’s a excellent and brief explanation by Carl Trueman in his article entitled, “A Word to the Conscience.” It can access the article in its entirety here:

http://thegospelcoalition.org/themelios

At some point prior to the sermon each Sunday in my church, the minister or elder leading the service will read a passage of Scripture designed to expose the moral failure of fallen humanity before God. Then he will lead the congregation in a corporate prayer of confession. Finally, when he closes the prayer, he will read a short passage (often just a verse or two) which speaks of the forgiveness of sins in Christ. The dramatic theological movement of the service at that point is profound: the congregation goes from being reminded and convicted of their sin, to calling out to God for forgiveness, to being reminded that in Christ God has acted in a startling and decisive way to cast our sin as far away as the east is from the west. We are reminded of the entire gospel, from fall to redemption to consummation, in the space of just a few minutes.

This moment in the church service has come to mean much to me. This is the point where, after a week of failure—of not living up to the standards I set myself, let alone those set for me by my Creator—I am reminded once again that all is well: Christ has dealt with my sin; my failings were placed on his shoulders on the cross; and my heavenly Father has annihilated them there. It is not, of course, that I do not know this Monday to Saturday; it is not that I do not read the gospel every day in my Bible; it is not that I do not confess my sins during the week and look then to Christ. But this is a word from outside, God’s work spoken to me by another human being, which lifts my head once again and assures my conscience that I am clean despite the filth I so often choose to wade in. So often I enter church weighted down with care; when I am once again reminded of God’s rich forgiveness in Christ, the weight is wonderfully lifted from my shoulders.

So often Christians can tend to think of the church worship service as something we do: we sing praise to God; we respond to the gospel; and we rejoice in our Saviour. Further, much discussion in the church focuses on what we need to be doing in order for church to be effective. Yet church is, first and foremost, something which God does. It is primarily and in origin an act of his grace, not an act of human response. He calls us out to be his people; he gathers us through his Spirit; he speaks to us through the reading and the preaching of his word. There is far more passivity in worship than we care to imagine, a passivity that is often belied by our concerns to make sure ‘everybody is involved.’ When the law is read, sins are confessed, and forgiveness declared, we are all involved because we are all included under the words of condemnation and the words of promise and mercy.

 

 

– Carl Trueman is Academic Dean, Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Professor of Historical Theology and Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.