On Sunday, July 16, Eliza Sturgeon prayed a prayer of confession as part of our time of worship. The text of her prayer is below. May it continue to inspire and convict your hearts for the remainder of the week.
We stand before you today in awe of just how good you are and aware of how broken the world is, of how broken we are. Sometimes it’s hard to come to church and worship you when all we can think about is everything that went wrong this week in our lives and in our hearts. It’s so easy for us to become consumed by our own sin and brokenness that we forget just how much you love and care for us.
God, forgive us for our self-centeredness. Forgive us for thinking that we’re just too messy for you to handle and it’s better for everyone, including You, if we just stay out of the way. Help us realize that when those thoughts strike, it’s Satan speaking words of lies into our ears, telling us that “You can handle everyone else, just not me.” Help us realize we are not “too much” for You in the slightest, that You are capable of taking all of our sin, no matter how big or black, and replacing it with the righteousness of Jesus. We are not too messy for you, and You love when we acknowledge our need and dependence on You.
Forgive us for how often we react to circumstances in fear and anxiety. It’s so easy to find ourselves lying awake at night, thinking about all the things in the world that are messed up. Will I be able to pay the rent? What if I can’t pay off my student loans? What if the current political climate messes up everything that I love about America? What if terrorists attack? What if I don’t ever get married? Why can’t all this racial tension just—not exist anymore?
These questions keep us up at night because we forget that You are in control, all the time; that You are sovereign and know everything that will happen before it actually does; that You will work things together for good. We get so overwhelmed by all the bad things that we relegate you to Sunday mornings and try to handle things by ourselves. Forgive us for doubting Your goodness, Your involvement in our lives, Your love for all the people in the world. Forgive us for spending our days wrapped up in ourselves and our stress and anxiety and fear. Forgive us for getting sinfully angry with the world, for railing against the people who don’t believe the same things we do or who don’t report the news the way we want them to. Help us remember that no matter what happens, You are present with us and watching over our souls. Remind us that this world and our troubles are only temporary, no matter how much it feels like we’ll never move forward.
Finally, forgive us for looking at the people around us and getting self-righteously angry or being upset with them for the things they do or believe. It’s so easy to follow people on the news and think “well I would never have done that,” or “how could they,” or “they’re horrible people and nothing can change that.” It could be news reporters, it could be terrorists, it could be our radically left or right wing neighbor, it could be an important politician. Forgive us for being self-righteous and thinking we are better than they are because we know the truth about You, would do a better job, believe this, fill in the blank. Help us remember that You are the one who created them in Your image. Help us remember they are sinners and need Jesus, just like we do. Help us remember that You put them where they are and that they are serving Your purpose, because nothing happens that You do not ordain. And help us remember that when people do horrible things, it’s not because You don’t care, but it’s because You do care and You are working through them and their actions, even if we can’t see it.
We recognize our sins and confess them, knowing and believing that Your forgiveness is complete and irrevocable. Thank you for who You are and how You love us.