803) Prayers of Confession by Martin Luther

Adapted from Luther’s Prayers, translated by Charles Kistler (1917)

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My Lord Jesus Christ, you are indeed the Good Shepherd, and I, alas, am a lost and straying sheep.  I have fear and anxiety.  I would gladly belong to your flock and be with you and have peace in my heart.  I hear from your Word that you are as anxious for me as I am for you.  I am eager to know how I can come to you to be helped.  Come to me, O Lord.  Seek me and find me.  Help me also to come to you and I will praise you and honor you forever.  Amen.  (#153)

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Dear Lord Jesus, I feel my sins.  They bite and gnaw and terrify me.  Where shall I go?  I will look to you, Lord Jesus, and believe in you.  Although my faith is weak, I look to you and find assurance, for you have promised, “He that believes in me shall have everlasting life.”  My conscience is burdened and my sins make me tremble, but you have said:  “Be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven and I will raise you up on the last day and you shall have eternal life.”  I cannot do any of this for myself. I come to you for help.  Amen.  (#147)

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Dear God, I have been wronged by my neighbor.  I did not deserve this of him.  But I must remember and consider how I stand with you.  Before you, I find a long account against me which convinces me that I have sinned a thousand times more against you, than my neighbor has done to me.  Therefore, I must do as you say, by sincerely praying, “O Lord, forgive, and I will also forgive.”  Amen.  (#172)

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Dear Lord God, I cannot count the sins that I have done and am still doing.  I have forgotten most of them and no longer feel any guilt.  Whatever is in me apart from your grace, is sin and condemned.  Thus, I must altogether despair of myself, my works, and my powers.  I know not what else to do but to pray for your mercy.  My joy and comfort is that you grant this poor sinner the forgiveness of all my sins out of your pure grace.  I give you thanks.  Amen.  (#141)

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Dear God, in your presence I confess myself a great sinner.  The Ten Commandments would cast me directly into hell.  But your precious Gospel teaches me that it is the highest wisdom to know and believe that out of your love, you are merciful through Christ, and you help poor and condemned sinners.  Therefore my confession of faith and my confession of sin is this:  “I am indeed a sinner, but God is merciful to me.”  I was your enemy, but you made me your friend.  I was condemned, but you desired that I be blessed and made an heir of heaven.  Indeed, this is your will.  You have permitted this truth to be preached to me and have commanded me to believe, for the sake of your Son whom you have given to me.  Amen.  (#146)

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O Lord, I am your clay and you are the potter.  You have declared me a sinner, and I accept your Word.  I confess before you my godless condition and my sinful nature.  I, and all people, are in sin and death; but you, are life and righteousness.  I, and all people, are full of evil, but you are the highest good.  I am led to this confession not by my reason, but through your Word.  Lord, I am in sin, but you are my righteousness.  Therefore, I am happy and without fear, for my sin cannot outweigh nor overpower your righteousness.  Neither will your righteousness permit me to remain a sinner.  Blessed are you, O faithful God, my merciful Redeemer.  In you alone do I trust, therefore I shall not be condemned.  Amen.  (#143)