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Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Such a simple statement holds such powerful truth. And contemplating that truth is what the 40 days of Lent are all about. It is during this time that we examine our sinful nature. It is during this time that we offer contrite prayers confessing our sins. It is during this time that we consider the magnitude of Jesus’s sacrifice, dying for our sins. To help you in that, here are six Lent prayer of confession ideas for worship, either as a community or on your own.

Lenten Prayers of Confession

Prayer #1

Most merciful God,
whose Son Jesus Christ was tempted in every way, yet without sin,
we confess before you that we have sinned;
we have hungered after that which does not satisfy;
we have compromised with evil;
we have doubted your power to protect us.
Forgive our lack of faith; have mercy on our weakness.
Restore in us such love and trust that we may walk in your ways
and delight in doing your will.

Prayer #2

Forgiving Lord,
We have fallen short time and time again.
You have given us your word, both in scripture and in Son,
you have promised us your presence, both in Spirit and in community,
and you have graced us with your kingdom, both in teaching and in service.
Even so, we neglect, ignore, and reject your purposes for us.
We do not love what you love.
We do not embrace what you embrace.
We do not defend what you have called us to defend.
Have mercy on us, o God of all ages past and all hope for years to come.
Forgive us for what we do and what we fail to do.
And with your gifts, promises, and grace, continue working in our lives
that we might receive full life in Jesus Christ, now and forevermore.
Amen.

Prayer #3

God of grace,
we confess that we have elevated
the things of this world above you.
We have made idols of possessions and people
and used your name for causes
that are not consistent with you and your purposes.
We have permitted our schedules to come first
and have not taken the time to worship you.
We have not always honored those who guided us in life.
We have participated in systems
that take life instead of give it.
We have been unfaithful in our covenant relationships.
We have yearned for, and sometimes taken, that which is not ours,
and we have misrepresented others’ intentions.
Forgive us, O God,
for the many ways we fall short of your glory.<
Help us to learn to live together according to your ways
through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

(Based on Exodus 20:1-17)

Prayer #4

God of mercy, you sent Jesus Christ to seek and to save the lost.
We confess that we have strayed from you
and turned aside from your way.
We are misled by pride,
for we see ourselves pure when we are stained,
and great when we are small.
We have failed in love, neglected injustice, and ignored your truth.
Have mercy on us, O God, and forgive our sin.
Return us to paths of righteousness
through Jesus Christ, our Savior.

Book of Common Worship

Prayer #5

God of all history and eternity, whom we call upon even now,
you are eternal, unchangeable, infinite, and almighty.
You are completely wise, just, and good—and the overflowing source of all goodness.
We thank you for your covenant, which is never broken,
and your love, which is never measurable.

Have mercy on us, O God,
according to your steadfast love.
According to your abundant mercy
blot out our transgressions.
Wash us thoroughly from our iniquities
and cleanse us from our sin.
For we know our transgressions and our sins are ever before us.
Against you, and you alone, have we sinned and done what is evil in your sight.

Create in us a clean heart, O God. Put a new and right spirit within us.
Cast us not away from your presence,
and do not take away your Holy Spirit,
restore to us the joy of your salvation and sustain in us a willing spirit.

(reflective silence OR sung response: “Create In Me a Clean Heart, O God”) Amen.

(Adapted from the Belgic Confession and from Psalm 51)

Prayer #6

Gracious God,
our sins are too heavy to carry,
too real to hide, and too deep to undo.
Forgive what our lips tremble to name,
what our hearts can no longer bear,
and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgment.
Set us free from a past that we cannot change;
open us to a future in which we can be changed;
and grant us grace to grow more and more in your likeness and image;
through Jesus Christ, the light of the world.

Book of Common Worship