prayer of confession – broken, but reluctant to be made whole

submitted by Rev. Rebecca Page Lesley, Suffolk Presbyterian Church, Suffolk, Virginia
inspired by Mark 1:29-39

O God, we come to you knowing that we are broken but reluctant to be made whole. We confess that we often fear your healing touch and what it might mean to be made well. We are comfortable in our brokenness because it is familiar. We are afraid that we would owe you too much if we allowed you to make us new. Yet that is what we long for, deep in our souls, for you to make our lives whole again. Heal our hearts, forgive our failings and mend our hurts. Reach out to us, O Lord, so that we might have the courage to reach back… (time for silent prayer)

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another confession for September 11

Submitted by Rev. Rebecca Page Lesley, Suffolk Presbyterian Church

Merciful God, you teach that we should love our neighbors as ourselves. We confess that we mostly just love ourselves. We see those who are different than we are and we harbor fear and suspicion. We forget that they too, are your beloved children. O God, have mercy on us.

In our search for safety, we have put others at risk and though many lives have been lost, we have not found the security we seek. Forgive us, Lord, for our misplaced sacrifices. Have mercy on us.

Christ teaches that we should forgive, but we like to hold on to grudges and they become our own weapons of mass destruction. We seek to be controllers of rather than partners in our relationships—even our relationship with you, O Lord. Have mercy on us. Forgive our faults, strengthen our weaknesses, and lead us forth in love.

confession: scattered

Prayer of Confession (using Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 as inspiration), submitted by Rev. Rebecca Page Lesley, Suffolk Presbyterian Church

We watch in horror, loving God, as you scatter seed with abandon, never even looking to see where it will fall. We think we could do it better—plowing and planting in only the best soil, carefully measuring out just the right amount of seed, fertilizer and water. “No waste, no want,” we say. We fear that there will not be enough and so we hoard what we have been so generously given by you, saving what we should be sharing. O God, forgive us for not trusting your ways and for doubting your extravagant abundance. Our own roots are shallow and we quickly fall away in the heat of the day; the weeds of our lives choke our commitment to you. Release us from our fears so that we may bear fruit for you and grow in us a desire to live abundant lives, flowering with generosity and mercy…

(…moment of silent confession.)

confession: we hear the mighty rush of wind

submitted by Rev. Rebecca Page Lesley, Suffolk Presbyterian Church, Suffolk, VA

Creator God, we hear the mighty rush of wind, and assume it is only the weather. We see the power of a flame, and are reminded only of combustion. We admit that we are hardly ever amazed and awed anymore. Often our prayers for help come with reservations and conditions, products of our own insecurities. We ask that you uphold us as we lay before you our doubts and fears.

We confess to you, holy Lord, that we are afraid of the chaos your Spirit leaves in its wake; we do not like chaos and disorder. We are worried that you might ask of us things that we’d rather not do or say; we don’t like to be uncomfortable. We fret about the way other people perceive us; yet you can see into our very hearts, O God. Those who sneered at the disciples, saying they were filled with new wine, did not understand the power of Pentecost and your Holy Spirit. Save us from ourselves, merciful God.

Spirit of new life and renewed life, remove our fears and inhibitions and fill us with strength and courage so that we may use your gifts to the absolute fullest. May we feel your power within us so that we can live and love and witness and serve with utter abandon, following only your will for our lives. Forgive our selfish ways and righteous attitudes that we might return to a right relationship with you and all creation, sharing your forgiveness with all those whom you call your children.