Day 1- Prayer of the Penitent

The theme for the first week of devotionals is confession, and it’s interesting to take a quick look at the Oxford definitions of the word:

1. A formal statement admitting that one is guilty of a crime.

2. A statement setting out essential religious doctrine.

When we bring our confessions to God, the two meanings become intertwined. While we confess our sins and unburden our souls, we also declare and remind ourselves of what is true and what we believe. That we are forgiven. That we can be made whole. That we are more deeply loved than we can possibly comprehend. That a warm welcome and celebration always awaits us weary prodigals in the house of our Father.  Whatever fissure and fraying our sin has caused is now beginning to mend.

At some point after college, I found a copy of The Book of Common Prayer at a used book sale and found in it a prayer that has become incredibly helpful to me. Perhaps you are familiar with it; it’s an old prayer of the Church called Litany of Penitence. It’s typically read as part of Lent, and I think it serves us well as a launch into our shared 21 days of prayer and fasting.

Whenever I pray through it, it feels like taking a shower after a long Saturday of working in the yard, or drawing a warm bath for the kids after they have turned the backyard into a “mud kitchen.”  It offers my soul a deep, refreshing, restorative sense of clean. I hope it will bless you as well:

Litany of Penitence

The Celebrant and People together, all kneeling

Most holy and merciful Father:
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.

The Celebrant continues

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

by Steve Lamp

Steve and his wife Melissa began attending Kingsway in 2014. Not normally prone to public displays of emotion, he wept during the first worship service and knew he had found home. As an avid reader, Steve believes the ideas we allow into our minds are critical to our spiritual formation. He enjoys exploring nature, playing and spending time with his two young sons and over-quoting his favorite authors, C.S. Lewis and Dallas Willard.