mgpcpastor's blog

Corporate Confession Of Sin

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Kevin DeYoung writes about ‘Why We Need Confession Of Sin’ and observes the Christian’s need to confess, both corporately and privately. DeYoung contents that in modern church services:

…. even less frequently do we bewail our sins together on Sunday morning. This is a shame. If your church does not regularly confess sin and receive God’s assurance of pardon you are missing an essential element of corporate worship. It’s in the weekly prayer of confession that we experience the gospel. It’s here that we find punk kids and Ph.D.’s humbled together, admitting the same human nature. It’s here we, like Pilgrim, can unload our burden at the foot of the cross.

At Against Heresies, Martin Downes onposts a prayer of confession by Richard Baxter.

The following helpful prayer of confession was penned by the seventeenth century Puritan Richard Baxter:

O most great, most just and gracious God; you are of purer eyes than to behold iniquity; but you have promised mercy through Jesus Christ to all who repent and believe in him.
Therefore we confess that we are sinful by nature and that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God.
We have neglected and abused your holy worship and your holy name. We have dealt unjustly and uncharitably with our neighbours. We have not sought first your kingdom and righteousness.
We have not been content with our daily bread.
You have revealed your wonderful love to us in Christ and offered us pardon and salvation in him; but we have turned away.
We have run into temptation; and the sin that we should have hated, we have committed.
Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father! We confess you alone are our hope. Make us your children and give us the Spirit of your Son, our only Saviour. Amen

2 thoughts on “Corporate Confession Of Sin

  1. The puritans are a good source of prayers that we can pray individually or together as a community – so thoroughly biblical in their mindset and content. 1662 Book of Common Prayer is good too – but I’d never admit to using it!! For prayers of confession I also like to try to word a prayer based on a passage that calls us to specific holiness, or a on a prayer of confession & repentance recorded in the Scripture (ie. Dan 9 or Ps 51). The old “question/answer” confession of sin is quite direct & really exposes you if you are placing any stock in your own godliness and merit. Very helpful pastorally.

    Having said all that, was a bit surprised this week when I read John Knox’ dim view of set prayers. Granted, he lived in a extraordinary time & place, but still, not convinced he wasn’t a little too keen to throw out the baby with the bathwater. See Puritan Paperbacks: “The Spirit and the Church” (Banner of Truth, 2002) pp. 137-142.

    Summary: “Show me prayers composed by divine inspiration with a command and directions for their use and I will be satisfied with prescribed forms of prayer. All the examples of prayer given in the Scripture were uttered in the freedom of men’s own spirits. So they all testify to free prayer, if not against the use of set forms”

    • The contrast is between public prayer without preparation, public prayer with preparation and reading written prayer forms.
      Even those who rejected written forms were not advocating a lack of preparation and prior thought.
      I’ve put up a later post with a link to an edition of the 9Marks ejournal dedicated to public pastoral prayer.

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