Here are the ancient prayers of confession that Pastor Bob mentioned in a recent message. He uses them in his personal prayer time and would recommend them for others as well, substituting I/my for we/our.
Merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed. We have not loved you with our whole heart and mind and strength; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. In your mercy, forgive what we have been, help us amend what we are, and direct what we shall be, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name. Amen.
Eternal God, our judge and redeemer, we confess that we have tried to hide from you, for we have done wrong. We have lived for ourselves, and turned from our neighbors. We have refused to bear the troubles of others. We have ignored the pain of the world, and passed by the hungry, the poor, and the oppressed. O God, in your great mercy forgive our sin and free us from selfishness, that we may choose your will and obey your commandments; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
Merciful God, we confess that we have often failed to be an obedient church. We have not done your will, we have broken your law, we have rebelled against your love. We have not loved our neighbors, and have refused to hear the cry of the needy. Forgive us, we pray, and free us for joyful obedience; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Eternal God, in whom we live and move and have our being, your face is hidden from us by our sins, and we forget your mercy in the blindness of our hearts.
Cleanse us from all our offenses, and deliver us from proud thoughts and vain desires. With lowliness and meekness may we draw near to you, confessing our faults, confiding in your grace, and finding in you our refuge and strength; through Jesus Christ your Son. Amen.
Almighty God, in Jesus Christ you called us to be a servant people, but we do not do what you command. We are often silent when we should speak, and useless when we could be useful. Have mercy on us, O God. Forgive us and free us from sin; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Almighty and merciful God, we have erred and strayed from your ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against your holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done. O Lord, have mercy upon us. Spare those who confess their faults. Restore those who are penitent, according to your promises declared to the world in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O merciful God, for his sake, that we may live a holy, just, and humble life for the glory of your holy name. Amen.
Almighty God, you love us, but we do not love you fully. You call, but we do not always listen. We often walk away from neighbors in need, wrapped in our own concerns. We often condone evil, hatred, warfare, and greed. God of grace, help us to admit our sin, so that as you move toward us in mercy, we may repent, turn to you, and receive forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen.
Merciful God, you pardon all who truly repent and turn to you. We humbly confess our sins and ask your mercy. We have not loved you with a pure heart, nor have we loved our neighbor as ourselves. We have not done justice, loved kindness, or walked humbly with you, our God. Have mercy on us, O God, in your loving-kindness. In your great compassion, cleanse us from our sin. Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within us. Do not cast us from your presence, or take your Holy Spirit from us. Restore to us the joy of your salvation and sustain us with your bountiful Spirit. Amen.
Holy and 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, 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.