Responsive Prayer of Confession

This responsive prayer of confession deals with the sin of idolatry and failure to love our neighbors. It would work well in a wide variety of worship contexts. 

God of everlasting love,
we confess that we have been unfaithful
to our covenant with you and with one another.
We have worshiped other gods: money, power, greed, and convenience.
We have served our own self-interest
instead of serving only you and your people.
We have not loved our neighbor as you have commanded, nor have we rightly loved ourselves.
Forgive us, gracious God,
and bring us back into the fullness
of our covenant with you and one another.
Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

-from The Worship Sourcebook, ©2004, Faith Alive Christian Resources

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Responsive Prayer of Confession for Children

This responsive prayer of confession would be especially useful for children.

Father, we are sorry for the many times we have left you and chosen to satisfy our own selfish desires.
For the times we have hurt the members of our families by refusing to do our share of the family tasks.
Father, we have sinned. Forgive us.
For the times we were unkind and impatient with those who needed our time and concern.
Father, we have sinned. Forgive us.
For the times we were too weak to stand up for what was right and allowed others to suffer because of our cowardice.
Father, we have sinned. Forgive us.
For the times we refused to forgive others.
Father, we have sinned. Forgive us.

-from More Children’s Liturgies, ed. Maria Bruck ©1981 by Missionary Society of Saint Paul the Apostle in the State of New York

Responsive Prayer of Confession from Psalm 51

Have mercy on us, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out our transgressions.
Wash us thoroughly from our iniquity, and cleanse us from our sin! For we know our transgressions, and our sin is ever before us.
Against you, you only, have we sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.
Hide your face from our sins, and blot out all our iniquities.
Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within us.
Cast us not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from us.
Restore to us the joy of your salvation, and uphold us with a willing spirit.
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or we would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
Our sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

-from Psalm 51:1-4; 9-12; 16-17 (ESV)
adapted from Christ-Centered Worship by Bryan Chapell

Corporate Prayer of Confession from The Savoy Liturgy

O most great, most just and gracious God; You are of purer eyes than to behold iniquity; but you have promised mercy through Jesus Christ to all who repent and believe in him. Therefore we confess that we are sinful by nature and that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. We have neglected and abused your holy worship and your holy name. We have dealt unjustly and uncharitably with our neighbors. We have not sought first your kingdom and righteousness. We have not been content with our daily bread.

You have revealed your wonderful love to us in Christ and offered us pardon and salvation in him; but we have turned away. We have run into temptation; and the sin that we should have hated, we have committed.

Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father! We confess you alone are our hope. Make us your children and give us the Spirit of your Son, our only Savior. Amen.

-from a 1661 prayer of Richard Baxter, The Savoy Liturgy

Prayer of Confession: Continual Repentance

O God of Grace, You have imputed our sin to our substitute, and have imputed his righteousness to our soul, clothing us with a bridegroom’s robe, decking us with jewels of holiness.

But in our Christian walk we are still in rags; our best prayers are stained with sin; our penitential tears are so much impurity; our confessions of wrong are so many aggravations of sin; our receiving the Spirit is tinctured with selfishness.

We need to repent of our repentance; we need our tears to be washed;

We have no robe to bring to cover our sins, no loom to weave our own righteousness;

We are always standing clothed in filthy garments, and by grace are always receiving change of raiment, for you always justify the ungodly;

We are always going into the far country, and always returning home as prodigals, always saying, Father, forgive us, and you are always bringing forth the best robe.

Every morning let us wear it, every evening return in it, go out to the day’s work in it, be married in it, be wound in death in it, stand before the great white throne in it, enter heaven in it shining as the sun.

Grant us never to lose sight of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the exceeding righteousness of salvation, the exceeding glory of Christ, the exceeding beauty of holiness, the exceeding wonder of grace.

adapted from “Continual Repentance” (The Valley of Vision) © 1975 The Banner of Truth Trust

Contemporary Prayer of Confession

You asked for my hands,
that you might use them for your purpose.
I gave them for a moment, then withdrew them,
for the work was hard.
You asked for my mouth
to speak out against injustice.
I gave you a whisper that I might not be accused.
You asked for my eyes
to see the pain of poverty.
I closed them, for I did not want to see.
You asked for my life,
that you might work through me.
I gave a small part, that I might not get too involved.
Lord, forgive my calculated efforts to serve you—
only when it is convenient for me to do so,
only in those places where it is safe to do so,
and only with those who make it easy to do so.
Father, forgive me,
renew me, send me out
as a usable instrument,
that I might take seriously
the meaning of your cross. Amen.

adapted from The Worship Sourcebook, ©2004, Faith Alive Christian Resources

Prayer of Confession from Psalm 40

O Lord, do not restrain your mercy from me;
may your steadfast love and your faithfulness ever preserve me!
For evils have encompassed me beyond number;
my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me.
Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me!
O Lord, make haste to help me!

-from Psalm 40:11-13 (ESV)
adapted from Christ-Centered Worship by Bryan Chapell