Prayer of Confession
As a people we are in a constant pursuit of holiness. Of truly building our lives upon God’s love. Of actually putting our trust in Him alone. And as we do so, we often approach painful topics that we must address in our lives. This morning as we approach the topic of self righteousness and judgment, we want to acknowledge that we are in a safe space to do this deep work. We are in a room full of people who have lived without the grace of God but who are now on an ever deepening journey of understanding and appropriating that grace. If someone else has popped into your head as I mention the topic of self righteousness, I’ll caution you by saying that this prayer could likely be more for you than it is for that person. This prayer is for the Pharisee who is overly pious - the person who thinks they understand God so well that they know better than the rest of the world. But this prayer is also for the person cowering in the corner who doesn’t believe they are good enough for the work or life God has called them to - the one who thinks they know themselves so well that they know better than God. Both lives are expressions of the same ugly root of self righteousness. As we pray let us open our hands. In this, we are saying “Lord, we release ourselves to you, we release our need to act as judge over ourselves and others.” We are also saying, “Lord, we receive your grace, fill us with your goodness that we may dispense your charity.”
Father....first, we take a deep breath and ask that you would expose the parts of us that have long lurked in darkness. We ask for a deep knowing that it’s not too late to truly know your grace. We ask for honesty here.
Lord, Forgive us for stepping into judgment when it feels like we’ve done all the hard work that no one else is willing to do. When we are unteachable and unwilling to see our own problems, but feel as though we have answers to all the world’s problems, for thinking that the broken relationships in our lives will be fixed only when the other person finds healing. Forgive us, Lord, for when we feel like you owe us.
Forgive us for the moments when we parade our good works in order to be known, for loving the praise and approval of man, and for measuring our supposed graciousness against that of others. Forgive us for the times that we think we deserve even a shred credit for the work that your Spirit is doing through us and for the times our desire to be seen as good and right trumps our willingness to expose our brokenness.
May we know your eternal kindness that leads your people to repentance.
WE PRAY, LORD HAVE MERCY, CHRIST HAVE MERCY
Forgive us for the moments we deny to walk forward in our calling, seized by fear of failure, and fear of being exposed.
Forgive us for not trusting the truth that you, God of all creation, have spoken over us and for not walking in the confidence that your sacrificial death afforded us.
Forgive us for resenting others when they don’t meet our unexpressed needs.
Forgive us for the moments that we forget that we are all wounded healers.
WE PRAY, LORD HAVE MERCY, CHRIST HAVE MERCY.
As we recognize that self righteousness, in all its various forms, often comes from a lack of connection somewhere in our lives we ask you, God, to grant us reconnection. Remind us that we have much to receive and much to give. Remind us that those exchanges happen not only between you and us, but also between us and the rest of the world - that often the ones we can learn the most from are the ones we most easily scrutinize.
We acknowledge together now, Lord, that it is your goodness that leads us forth in the daily work of sanctification. It is your sacrifice that pours God’s righteousness over us to cover our self righteousness.