Samuel Johnson’s Prayer of Confession

Think of this as one of my English major moments! Samuel Johnson (born September 18, 1709,—died December 13, 1784, London) was an English critic, biographer, essayist, poet, and lexicographer. He is considered one of the greatest figures of 18th-century life and letters. This prayer was included in a book I recently reviewed, Be Thou My Vision by Jonathan Gibson–Book Review. It touched my heart, and maybe it will touch yours as well.

Almighty and most merciful Father, you hate nothing you have made, nor desire the death of a sinner –look down with mercy upon me, and grant that I may turn from my wickedness and live. Forgive the days and years which I have passed in folly, idleness, and sin. Fill me with such sorrow for the time misspent, that I may amend my life according to your holy Word; strengthen me against habitual idleness, and enable me to direct my thoughts to the performance of every duty; that while I live I may serve you in the state to which you shall call me, and at last by a holy and happy death be delivered from the struggles and sorrows of this life, and obtain eternal happiness by your mercy, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Samuel Johnson

For more about confession see:

Confession — It’s Good for the Soul

The Prayer of Confession

A Via de Cristo Prayer of Confession and Forgiveness

A Via de Cristo Prayer of Confession and Forgiveness

This is another prayer from The Pilgrim’s Guide which participants receive during their Via de Cristo weekend.  Every time I read through it I am humbled to see my own sin and God’s gracious forgiveness.

It is hard for me, O God to confess my sins and not merely repeat well-worn phrases with which I try to cover my real guilt.

I am a sinner.  Why is it so difficult for me to see this, Lord?  Why am I so bothered with a few things I do wrong while I think nothing of my lack of trust in you?  Why do I feel guilty when I do not live up to my own standards but hardly blush when I fail you?  Why do I imitate those who are unholy instead of following the Christ?  I must confess it is because I am weak in the face of temptations, and without you I am nothing.

All I can do is plead mercy, O God.  I cannot even hold up the honesty and fullness of my confession.  All I can do is trust your love in Jesus Christ.  I surely cannot trust my love for you or Him.  Hear me for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lived for me and died that in Him I might live.

Forgive me, Father!  Forgive me even this, my poor confession.  I need your forgiveness for Christ’s sake.  Amen

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