Corporate Prayer of Confession

The liturgical style used at our church (Covenant Reformed Church [URC] in New Holland) is one part traditional Reformed and one part covenant renewal. We start with a call to worship and psalm/hymn of praise, followed by a section titled in the bulletin “God renews His covenant with us.” We read the law, confess our sins corporately and privately, receive assurance of pardon, and (sometimes, and not permanently) celebrate the Lord’s Supper during this time.

This old Puritan prayer was what we used as the corporate confession of sin a couple weeks ago. I thought it was powerful and well-written, so I wanted to re-post it here. I have researched the original source, but I have not found it yet. I have a feeling it is contained in the Valley of Vision.

Our God – Eternal Father, You are good beyond all thought, but we are vile, wretched, miserable, and blind; our lips are ready to confess, but our hearts are slow to feel, and we are reluctant to amend our ways.

We bring our souls to You; break them, bend them, and mold them. Unmask to us sin’s deformity, that we may hate it, abhor it, and flee from it.

Our faculties have been a weapon of revolt against You. As rebels we have misused our strength, and served the foul adversary of Your kingdom. Give us grace to bewail our insensitive folly. Grant that we may know and remember that: when we are tempted to sin, the way or the transgressor is hard, evil paths are wretched paths, and to depart from You is to lose all good.

We have seen the purity and beauty of Your perfect Law, the happiness of those in whose heart it reigns, the calm dignity of the walk to which it calls, yet we daily violate and condemn its precepts.

Your loving Spirit strives within us, brings us to Scripture’s warnings, speaks in startling Providences, allures by secret whispers, yet we choose devices and desires to our own hurt, impiously resent, grieve, and provoke Him to abandon us.

All of these sins we mourn, lament, and for them cry pardon. Work in us a more profound and abiding repentance; give us the fullness of a godly grief that trembles and fears, yet ever trusts and loves, which is ever powerful, and ever confident. Grant that through the tears of repentance we may see more clearly the brightness and glories of the saving cross. Amen.

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