Living confessionally

I have been praying the Confession (from the Book of Common Prayer) in church now for a little over a year. More recently, it has become a daily prayer.

The same words, over and over.

I understand that liturgy, through its sheer repetition, can become meaningless. The most wonderful prayers, though filled beginning to end with Truth, can be rote when they are said without thought.

But my experience with this prayer in particular has been quite the opposite: it gains new meaning nearly every time I pray it. Because of this, I have been thinking a great deal about confession, not just the actual prayer but the idea of living “confessionally,” individually and as the Church, the body of Christ. I’ve not given much brainpower to this idea before now, and as I’ve thought about it, it’s grown in its significance for me. I’m planning to write a short series on it. I hope this is not simply a one-way presentation but that it prompts discussion. I feel I still have a great deal to learn about confession (as I do about so very many things), and I would love to learn WITH you.

Today’s post is simply the prayer itself and the prayer/benediction that always follows it.

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart;

We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.

For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us;

That we may delight in your will,

And walk in your ways,

To the glory of your Name.


Almighty God, have mercy on us,

Forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Strengthen us in all goodness,

And by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life.


8 thoughts on “Living confessionally

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  2. Pingback: Living Confessionally, Part 4: Inviting the Holy Spirit’s Conviction | Jen Underwood

  3. I look forward to this series. I too have been praying the prayer of confession.
    When I think of confessional living, I think of life born of two confessions: the confession of sins and the confession of faith. The two are inseparable.

    • So true! The confession of faith keeps us from obsessing over our sin. If we don’t turn to the object of our faith–Christ–then our very confession of sin can keep us in self-focus.

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