This is a prayer I sometimes use to guide my confessional prayer time…It may seem a bit formal but I find it helps. I am not sure of its source – perhaps the Anglican Prayer Book…
I find this formality helps me to see the holiness of God and His ways – that I am a truly sinful person! My righteousness is as filthy rags. I have nothing to stand on but His mercy and in His righteousness.
“Holy and Merciful God, I confess to you that I have sinned agianst you in thought, word and deed, by what I have done , and by what I have left undone. I have not loved you with my whole heart, and mind, and strength. I have not loved my neighbor as myself. I have not forgiven others as I have been forgiven. Have mercy on me, O God.
I have not listened to your call to serve as Christ served me. I have not been true to the mind of Christ. I have grieved your Holy Spirit. Have mercy on me, O God.
I confess to you, O God, all my past unfaithfulness: the pride, hypocrisy and impatience in my life, not waiting on You. I confess to you, O God.
My self-indulgent appetites and ways, and my exploitation of other people. I confess to you, O God.
My anger, my own frustration and my envy of those more fortunate than me. I confess to you, O God.
My love of worldly goods and comforts, and my dishonesty in daily life and work. I confess to you, O God.
My negligence in prayer and worship, and my failure to commend the faith that is in me. I confess to you, O God.
Accept my repentance, O God, for the wrongs I have done. For my neglect of human need and sufferings and my indifference to injustice and cruelty. Accept my repentance, O God.
For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward my neighbors, and for my prejudice and contempt for thsoe who differ from me, Accept my repentance , O God.
Restore me, O God, and let your anger depart form me.
Favorably hear me, O God, for your mercy is great.”
I find this caused me to think…at first I was offended to confess I was indifferent to injustice…or exploitaion of other people… surely, that’s not me!
But is it? Am I indifferent to the sufferings of those in Syria, the Sudan – do I hear the news and it doesn’t affect me? How ’bout those in my own community suffering from the cold? Am I too usy thinking of my own needs and agendas?
Surely I do not exploit others…or do I? What about the products I buy? Where are they made and under what conditions?