A Lenten Prayer of Confession

February 28, 2020

Faith & Spirtuality, Uncategorized

High Altar of Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church during Lent,
from Wikipedia

What if bank robbers mouthed the usual excuses when asked to express remorse? “But we’d feel guilty,” they’d say, “and guilt brings low self-esteem, and low self-esteem means an unhealthy self-concept.”

The proper response: “Nuts to your self-esteem.”

In Lent, we stop swallowing pop psychology’s bromides and face ourselves for who we are. We’re sinners. The remedy is not evasion but confession — and few provide better templates than the Book of Common Prayer. My church said this confessional prayer together on Ash Wednesday. I’m thinking about taping it to my wall and saying it every single 2020 Lenten day:

We confess to you and to one another, and to the whole communion of saints in heaven and on earth, that we have sinned by our own fault 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, and mind, and strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not forgiven others, as we have been forgiven. Have mercy on us, Lord.

We have been deaf to your call to serve as Christ served us. We have not been true to the mind of Christ. We have grieved your Holy Spirit. Have mercy on us, Lord.

We confess to you, Lord, all our past unfaithfulness: the pride, hypocrisy, and impatience of our lives, We confess to you, Lord.

Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation of other people, We confess to you, Lord.

Our anger at our own frustration, and our envy of those more fortunate than ourselves, We confess to you, Lord.

Our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and our dishonesty in daily life and work, We confess to you, Lord.

Our negligence in prayer and worship, and our failure to commend the faith that is in us, We confess to you, Lord.

Accept our repentance, Lord, for the wrongs we have done: for our blindness to human need and suffering, and our indifference to injustice and cruelty, Accept our repentance, Lord.

For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbors, and for our prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us, Accept our repentance, Lord.

For our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of concern for those who come after us, Accept our repentance, Lord.

Restore us, good Lord, and let your anger depart from us; Favorably hear us, for your mercy is great. Accomplish in us the work of your salvation, That we may show forth your glory in the world.

By the cross and passion of your Son our Lord, Bring us with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection. AMEN.

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About Charles Redfern

Charles Redfern is a writer, activist, and clergyman living in Connecticut with his wife and family. He's currently writing two books, with more in his head.

View all posts by Charles Redfern

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