The following are prayers of confession of sin that may be used in worship. They may also serve as models for preparing others.
The Prayer of Confession Have mercy upon me, O God, according to your lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of your tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned, and done this evil in your sight: that you might be justified when you speak, and be clear when you judge. Behold, you desire truth in the inward parts. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. (From Psalm 51, which may also be used in its entirety)
The Prayer of Confession O Lord God, eternal and almighty Father, we confess and acknowledge unfeignedly before thy holy majesty that we are poor sinners, conceived and born in iniquity and corruption, prone to do evil, incapable of any good, and that in our depravity we transgress thy holy commandments without end or ceasing: Wherefore we purchase for ourselves, through thy righteous judgment, our ruin and perdition. Nevertheless, O Lord, we are grieved that we have offended thee; and we condemn ourselves and our sins with true repentance, beseeching thy grace to relieve our distress. O God and Father most gracious and full of compassion, have mercy upon us in the name of thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. And as thou dost blot out our sins and stains, magnify and increase in us day by day the grace of thy Holy Spirit: that as we acknowledge our unrighteousness with all our heart, we may be moved by that sorrow which shall bring forth true repentance in us, mortifying all our sins, and producing in us the fruits of righteousness and innocence which are pleasing unto thee; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. (From Geneva Liturgy, 1543)
The Prayer of Confession Almighty and most merciful Father, 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; And there is no health in us. O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore those who are penitent, According to Your promises declared unto mankind in Jesus Christ our Lord. And grant, O merciful Father, for His sake, That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life; To the glory of Your holy name. Amen. (By Thomas Cranmer, from the Book of Common Prayer, 1552, 1559, 1662, for An Order for Morning Prayer)
The Prayer of Confession Most holy and merciful Father, we acknowledge and confess before You our sinful nature – prone to evil and slothful in good – and all our shortcomings and offenses against You. You alone know how often we have sinned in wandering from Your ways, in wasting Your gifts, in forgetting Your love. O Lord, have mercy on us, who are ashamed and sorry for all wherein we have displeased You. Teach us to hate our errors, cleanse us from our secret faults, and forgive our sins for the sake of Your dear Son. And O most holy and loving Father, send Your purifying grace into our hearts, we beseech you, that we may henceforth live in Your light and walk in Your ways, according to the commandments of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (From the Book of Common Worship, 1906)
The Prayer of Confession Lord God! Eternal and almighty Father: We acknowledge and confess before thy holy majesty that we are poor sinners, conceived and born in guilt and in corruption, prone to do evil, unable of ourselves to do any good; who, by reason of our depravity, transgress without end thy holy commandments. Therefore we have drawn upon ourselves, by thy just sentence, condemnation and death. But, O Lord, with heartfelt sorrow we repent and deplore our offense! We condemn ourselves and our evil ways, with true penitence beseeching that thy grace may relieve our distress. Be pleased to have compassion on us, O most gracious God! Father of mercies, for the sake of your son Jesus Christ our Lord. And in removing our guilt and our pollution, grant us the daily increase of the grace of thine Holy Spirit; that acknowledging from our inmost hearts our own unrighteousness, we may be touched with sorrow that shall work true repentance; and that thy Spirit, mortifying all sin within us, may produce the fruits of holiness and of righteousness well-pleasing in thy sight: Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Adapted from John Calvin’s Geneva Liturgy of 1543
The Prayer of Confession Almighty God, we are unworthy to come into your presence, because of our many sins. We do not deserve any grace or mercy from you, if you dealt with us as we deserve. We have sinned against you, O Lord, and we have offended you. And yet, O Lord, as we acknowledge our sins and offenses, so also do we acknowledge you to be a merciful God, a loving and favorable Father, to all who turn to you. And so we humbly ask you, for the sake of Christ your son, to show mercy to us, and forgive us all our offenses. Forgive the sins of our youth, and the sins of our old age. By your Spirit, O God, take possession of our hearts, so that, not only the actions of our life, but also the words of our mouths, and the smallest thought of our minds, may be guided and governed by you. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be all honor and glory, now and forever. Amen. (From John Knox, Liturgy of 1560)
The Prayer of Confession O Eternal God, and most merciful Father! We confess and acknowledge here before your Divine Majesty, that we are miserable sinners, conceived and born in sin and iniquity, so that in us there is no goodness. For the flesh evermore rebels against the spirit; whereby we continually transgress your holy precepts and commandments, and so purchase to ourselves, through thy just judgment, death and condemnation. O Heavenly Father, inasmuch as we are displeased with ourselves for the sins that we have committed against you, and do sincerely repent of the same: we most humbly beseech you, for the sake of Jesus Christ, to show your mercy upon us, to forgive us all our sins, and to increase your Holy Spirit in us; that we, acknowledging from the bottom of our hearts our own unrighteousness, may from henceforth not only mortify our sinful lusts and affections, but also bring forth such fruits as may be agreeable to thy most blessed will; not for the worthiness thereof, but for the merits of your dearly beloved Son Jesus Christ, our only Savior, whom you have already given as an oblation and offering for our sins, and for whose sake we are certainly persuaded that you will deny us nothing that we shall ask in his Name according to your will. For your Holy Spirit does assure our consciences that you are our merciful Father, and so love us, your children, through him, that nothing is able to remove your heavenly grace and favor from us. To you, therefore, O Father, with the Son and with the Holy Spirit, be all honor and glory, forever. Amen. (From John Knox, Frankfort, 1554, Geneva, 1556, adopted by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1560).
The Prayer of Confession O Lord, if thou should mark iniquities, who should stand. We confess before thee our troubled and wicked ways. By nature our understanding is darkened, alienated from thy life through the ignorance that is in us, because of the blindness of our hearts. Thou hast written to us the great things of thy law, but we have accounted them strange things, and our corrupt hearts have sometimes been ready to say, “What is the Almighty that we should serve him?” We have forgotten him days without number, and our hearts have walked after vanity, and become vain. We have set our affections on things beneath, which should have been set on things above, where our treasure is, and where Christ sits on the right hand of God, the things which we should seek. We have been as fig trees planted in the vineyard, and thou hast come seeking fruit from us, but hast found none; and therefore we might justly be cut down, and cast into the fire for encumbering the ground. But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared; with thee there is mercy, yea, with our God there is plenteous redemption, and he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities. Teach us to hate our errors, cleanse us from our secret faults, and forgive our sins for the sake of Your dear Son. And O most holy and loving Father, send Your purifying grace into our hearts, by thine Holy Spirit, that we may henceforth live in Your light and walk in Your ways, according to the commandments of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.