Praying Hands, 1508 by Albrecht Durer (1471-1528)
O Merciful God, in your presence we confess our sinfulness, our shortcomings, and our offenses against you. You alone know how often we have sinned in wandering from your ways, in wasting your gifts, and in forgetting your love. Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we are ashamed and sorry for all we have done to displease you. Forgive our sins, and help us to live in your light and walk in your ways, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.
–Henry van Dyke, in Presbyterian Book of Common Worship, 1906.
I confess, O Righteous God, that I have sinned against Thee in thought, word, and deed. I have not loved Thee above all else nor my neighbor as myself. Through my sins I am guilty of more than I understand and contribute to the world’s negligence of Thee. I beseech Thee, help me to cease my sins. Forgive me, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
–From a Swedish Lutheran Church liturgy
O Almighty God, grant that we may ever be found watching and ready for the coming of Thy Son. Save us from undue love of the world, that we may wait with patient hope for the day of the Lord, and so abide in him, that when he shall appear we may not be ashamed; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lord God, I give you thanks that you have not left me to my sins, but have bruised me with bitter blows, inflicting sorrows, sending distress without and within. You know all things without exception, and nothing in man’s conscience is hidden from you. You know what will promote my progress, and how much tribulation will serve to scour off the rust of my sins. Deal with me according to your good pleasure; I am in your hands. I commit myself to you to be corrected, for it is better to be punished here than hereafter. There is no one to console me except you, my Lord God, the heavenly physician of souls, who wounds and heals, who cast down and raises up again. Your discipline is upon me and shall instruct me. Make of me a pious and humble follower, so that I may walk in your way. Amen.
–Thomas a Kempis (1380-1471)
Dig out of us, O Lord, the venomous roots of covetousness; or else so repress them with your grace, that we may be contented with your provision of necessaries, and not labor, as we do, with all toil, sleight, guile, wrong, and oppression, to pamper ourselves with vain superfluities. Amen.
–Edmund Grindal (1519-1583), Bishop of London
Dear God, give us peaceful hearts, and a right courage in our strife against the devil, so that we may not only endure and finally triumph, but also have peace in the midst of the struggle, praising you and giving you thanks without complaining against your divine will. Let peace rule in our hearts, so that we may never, through impatience, undertake anything against you, our God, or against our fellowman. Rather, may we remain both inwardly and outwardly quiet and peaceable toward you, our Lord, and toward all people, until the final and eternal peace shall come. Amen.
Lord, grant that while I live I may do what service I am able to do in this frail body. May I never forget Thy great love for me, and always be ready to lie down in death and bequeath my soul unto Thee. Let me ever look up to Thee, so that my dying will not seem so terrible; and thus I shall not be unwilling to come to you, even though by so rough a deliverer. Amen.
–Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672), New England Puritan poet
O Lord God of all eternity, you give us the gift of time. Give us also the wisdom to redeem the time, lest our day of grace be lost; for our Lord Jesus’ sake. Amen.
–Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), English poet
Lord Jesus, when our brief time on earth is ended, take us unto Thee, for we are Thine and Thou art ours, and we long to be with Thee. Here on earth let our small service be a part of Thy great work in this world; and then, at the last, receive us into Thy Kingdom. Amen.
–Philip Melancthon (1497-1560), German reformer
Have mercy on me, O Lord, as I muddle my way through this sad world, on my way to you and your perfect home. I make myself miserable and my life difficult by my many sins. We have so much trouble getting along, as we are always sinning and being sinned against. Give me the grace to forgive others as I have been forgiven by you, and may they receive the grace to forgive me as they have been forgiven by you. I pray this in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for the forgiveness of all our sins. Amen.
Lamentations 3:40-42a — Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say, “We have sinned.”
Lamentations 3:55-57 — I called on your name, Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea… (and) you came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.”
Psalm 103:1-4 — Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.