Prayers for Lent – III

Being Merciful – a Prayer of Confession

We are challenged to be merciful;
to forgive others,
acknowledging our own need of forgiveness.

[For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. – Matthew 6:14]

We are challenged to be merciful;
to refrain from judging;
recognising that the standards
we apply to others
also apply to ourselves.

[Do not judge, so that you may not be judged.  For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. – Matthew 7:1-2]

We are challenged to be merciful;
to respond with generosity
towards the mean of spirit,
knowing that we too have a tendency towards being selfish and self-serving.

[Love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.  Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. – Luke 6:35-36]

We are challenged to be merciful
and we confess that too often instead
we are self-righteously hard hearted.
Forgive us.

We are challenged to be gracious;
to act compassionately towards others,
acknowledging that we also

are dependent on grace.

[For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is a gift of God. – Ephesians 2:8]

We are challenged to be gracious;
to be sensitive to the feeling of others;
recognising our own need to be
always treated kindly

[And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. – Ephesians 4:32]

We are challenged to be gracious;
to uphold the dignity of others,
not allowing our dreams to destroy theirs,
knowing how deeply we too
desire to be successful and respected.

[Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.  Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. – Philippians 2:3-4]

We are challenged to be gracious
and we confess that too often instead
we are self-righteously hard hearted.
Forgive us.

We are challenged to be loving
to treasure each and every person
however contemptible they seem,
acknowledging our own sinfulness
and longing to be valued.

[But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8]

We are challenged to be loving;
to support and encourage others
recognising our own need to be
cherished and nurtured.

[May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another. – Romans 15:5]

We are challenged to be loving;
to give of ourselves for the benefit of others;
knowing our dependence
on the benevolence of God
and the generosity of his creation.

[For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many. – Mark 10:45]

We are challenged to be loving
and we confess that too often instead
we are self-righteously hard hearted.
Forgive us.

In being challenged to be merciful.
gracious and loving,
we acknowledge our need
to be transformed.

We, who are being formed in your image,
Merciful, Gracious, and Loving God,
recognise that we need nothing less
than the miracle of
becoming increasingly like you.

We know that only by becoming
more and more merciful,
gracious and loving,
will we become less
self-righteously hard-hearted.

We who have been challenged,
seek to be the recipients
of your mercy, grace and love.
We ask that you hear our prayer.
Amen.

 – by Joy Kingsbury-Aitken