A Prayer Confessing our Sins

This prayer was used for confession of sins at the Lutheran church I recently attended. It certainly touches on some of my besetting sins, so maybe you will see yourself in it as well.

Almighty God, merciful Father,

We have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed. We have done things we should not have done, and we have failed to do the things we should have done. We have been impatient. We have grumbled. We have been critical of others and we have been difficult. We have used coarse language and have taken Your name in vain. We have sought and received Your forgiveness and, then, we have refused to forgive our neighbor. Father, forgive us, renew us, and lead us so that we may be merciful, even as You are merciful. Amen

For more prayers see:

Martin Luther’s Prayer about the Word

A Prayer of Surrender

A Penitent Prayer

Martin Luther’s Prayer about the Word

Dear God,
let your Word
shine in our hearts
by your Holy Spirit.
Make it
so bright and warm
that we always find
our comfort and joy
in it.
Amen.

Source: Martin Luther, translated for A Collection of Prayers from Die Gebete Luthers#195.

For more prayers see:

Prayer to the Holy Spirit #2

A Prayer of Surrender

A Penitent Prayer

When You’re Sick #2

If you’ve been sick (as I have recently When You’re Sick), you may feel depressed and have trouble praying. If so, you can rely on “other peoples’ prayers” (Prayer in the Night by Tish Harrison Warren–Book Review) like this one. I found it helpful and comforting.

Lord, the day is drawing to a close, and like all the other days, it leaves me the impression of utter defeat. I have done nothing for You: neither have I said conscious prayers, nor performed works of charity, nor any work at all, work that is sacred for every Christian who understands its significance. I have not even been able to control that childish impatience and those foolish rancours which so often occupy the place that should be Yours in rhe “no man’s land” of my emotions. It is in vain that I promise You to do better. I shall be no different tomorrow, nor on the day that follows.

When I retrace the course of my life, I am overwhelmed by the same impression of inadequacy. I have sought you in prayer and in the service of my neighbor, for we cannot separate You from our brothers any more than we can we our body from our spirit. But in seeking You do I not find myself? Do I not wish to satisfy myself? Those works that I secretly termed good and saintly, dissolve in the light of approaching eternity, and I dare no longer lean on these supports that have lost their stability.

Even actual sufferings bring me no joy because I bear them so badly. Perhaps we are all like this: incapable of discerning anything but our own wretchedness and our own despairing cowardice before the light of the Beyond that waxes on our horizon.

But it may be, O Lord, that this impression of privation is part of a divine plan. It may be that in Your eyes, self-complacency is the most obnoxious of all fripperies, and that we must come before You naked so that You, You alone, may clothe us.

Marguerite Teilhard de Chardin

Mme. de Chardin was foundress of Union of the Sick in France during the 1930s.

For More prayers see:

Prayer to the Holy Spirit #2

Great and Small Prayers for Babies — Book Review

A Prayer of Surrender

A Prayer of Surrender

The Covenant Prayer by John Wesley

I am no longer my own, but thine.

Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.

Put me to doing, put me to suffering.

Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee.

Let me be full, let me be empty.

Let me have all things, let me have nothing.

I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.

And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, Holy Spirit thou art mine, and I am thine.

And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.

Amen

 

In 1775,  a covenant service was introduced by John Wesley and became an important part of spiritual life in the Methodist Societies. This renewal service was a time for the Methodists to gather annually in a time of self-examination, reflection, and dedication, wholly giving up themselves and renewing covenant with God. Repentance through confession and commitment was a key focus of the service, demanding humility.  The prayer above is used during the service which is usually held on the Sunday nearest January 1st.

For another prayer of surrender see:

The Serenity Prayer in Action

What to Change

 

 

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

In the 1200’s, the prayer “Come, Holy Spirit,” written as a Latin worship poem called Veni Sancte Spiritus, took on a central place in the worship of the Western Church.  If you’ve attended a Lutheran Via de Cristo weekend, it will be familiar to you, as it is used before each talk on the retreat.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love.  Send forth your Spirit, and we shall be created.  And you shall renew the face of the earth

O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit instructs the hearts of the faithful, grant, that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in his consolations.  Through Christ or Lord.  Amen

For more about Lutheran Via de Cristo, see these posts:

What is Via de Cristo?

Remembering My Via De Cristo Weekend

And Speaking of Retreats …..

 

A Penitent Prayer

I recently read and reviewed The Duty of Delight (the Diaries of Dorothy Day).  At the end of the book, this prayer was included.  It had been found on a card inserted in her last journal.  It’s the prayer composed to be used during Lent, and it certainly speaks to me — the things I need to remove from my life, and the things I need to include.  Maybe it will speak to you as well.

“O Lord and master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth,  faintheartedness, lust of power and idle talk.  But give to thy servant rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love.  Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother, for Thou art blessed from all ages to ages.

St. Ephraim the Syrian’s Prayer of Penance

Prayer Disciplines Part 2

During the last couple of years my prayer life has become less and less organized.  Oh, I still pray.  I often pray while driving.  If I wake up during the night, or very early, I pray.  I pray before falling asleep.  Thoughts of God constantly linger around the edges of my mind.  I may actually pray more that I did during my sporadic attempts at “discipline.”  I’ve come to think, as Frank Laubach once said:

“All thought can be conversations with thee (God).”

At any rate, I’ve decided to give up or give in to God’s grace and pray the way I am.

Just this week, I discovered a prayer discipline I never recognized in myself as I read “Creating a Life with God” by Daniel Wolpert. Along with many of the prayer exercises I learned in my Spiritual Direction course such as centering prayer, the Jesus prayer, lectio divina, the examen and journaling, he mentions creativity as prayer, saying:

“Since prayer connects us to God, creativity–as it connects us to the creative power of God–becomes a prayer practice.”

Throughout my faith life, periods of personal creativity have been times when I especially feel God’s presence and His pleasure with me.  One of the first times this happened was after a class on spiritual gifts led me to write a Vacation Bible School program for our church.  At the time, and for several years afterwards, our house would be littered with library books, craft ideas, Sunday School material and anything else I could find that related to the VBS theme for the year.  Several of the people who assisted me with preparing those programs mention them as times of special fun and meaning despite all the hard work that went into them.  It became a time of consuming passion for the project and for God while it lasted.  Since that time I have had the same experience in creating and leading workshops for my church and other Christian groups, writing talks for retreats, newsletter articles and even letters of encouragement or sympathy to friends.  I often sense God working through me to touch others in these ways, and when one project ends, my heart is restless until another presents itself.  How delightful to think of this as prayer!  And how delightful to realize that God can use me with all my restless and unruly thoughts!

This was written years ago.  For more current information of my prayer life see these posts:

Fanning the Flame #8 — Prayer Vision

Fanning the Flame #8 Continued … How should I pray?

 

 

 

Prayer Disciplines Part 1

This is from a reflection paper I wrote years ago while attending a two year program on spiritual direction. It mentions my personality type as revealed through the Meyers-Briggs testing method.  For those who are not familiar with this, you will find more information by following this link:

https://www.mbtionline.com/

 

As a INFJ the routines of church attendance and Bible study come fairly easily to me.  I love the ritual of the liturgy and the church seasons.  This is the “J” part of me coming out.  The “NF” part of my personality, however, identifies with a character in the novel “Absolute Truth” by Susan Howatch.  She says:

“… my busy over-educated brain is a positive hinderance to prayer, and far too often my thoughts speed off on tangents that are intellectually fascinating, but quite irrelevant to the task of praying….”

In consequence, times of inner silence and contemplation elude me.  I’ve discovered that while it is easy for me to be quiet, it is difficult to be “still.”

In 1990, after attending a Via de Cristo retreat, I got serious about prayer as a discipline and since that time have sampled numerous prayer techniques which seem to work for a season.  Shortly after the retreat, I started going into work early.  I would spend a few minutes each day sitting in my car and praying with the “Pilgrim’s Guide” we were given on the weekend.  At times I’ve walked regularly, using that as my time alone with God and nature. For a while my Saturday morning housecleaning routine became a time of prayer.  I played Christian music and dedicated the time to God or sometimes to a particular person or event.  One summer I spent time almost every evening in my backyard, sitting alone in an adirondack chair and praying directly from Scripture.  I’ve used devotional books as a daily aid to prayer and meditation.  None of these routines really seemed to “stick” on a long-term basis.

To be continued ……

 

A Good Prayer to Start the Day by Martin Luther

Lord, grant that anger or other bitterness does not reign over us, but that your grace, genuine kindness, loyalty, and every kind of friendliness, generosity, and gentleness may reign in us. Amen

Wouldn’t it be nice if we all not only started the day with this prayer, but managed to stick to it?

Click on these links for more about Martin Luther and prayer:                                    Martin Luther on Praying for One Another

A Prayer by Martin Luther

 

 

A Prayer from Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Bonhoeffer wrote this prayer while he was imprisoned by the Nazis, and I thought it was well worth posting.  It was written for his fellow prisoners, but certainly has a universal application.

O God, early in the morning I cry to you.

Help me to pray
And to concentrate my thoughts on you;
I can’t do this alone.

In me there’s darkness,
But with you there’s light;
I’m lonely, but you don’t leave me;

I’m feeble in heart, but with you there’s help;
I’m restless, but with you there’s peace.
In me there’s bitterness, but with you there’s patience;
I don’t understand your ways,
But you know the way for me.

O Heavenly Father,
I praise and thank you
For rest in the night;
I praise and thank you for this new day;
I praise and thank you for all your goodness
and faithfulness throughout my life.

You have granted me many blessings;
Now let me also accept what’s hard from your hand.
You will lay on me no more than I can bear.
You make all things work together for good for your children.

Lord Jesus Christ,
You were poor and in distress, a captive and forsaken as I am.

You know all man’s troubles;
You abide with me when all men fail me;
You remember and seek me;
It’s your will that I should know you and turn to you.
Lord, I hear your call and follow;
Help me.

O Holy Spirit,
Give me faith that will protect me
from despair, from passions, and from vice;
Give me such love for God and men
as will blot out all hatred and bitterness;
Give me the hope that will deliver me
from fear and faint-heartedness.

Amen.