Confessions about Work

Worship / Produced by partner of TOW

These Confession Prayers are part of "Work in Worship," a collection of material for work-themed services compiled by David Welbourn. The aim of this book is to provide material which will assist clergy and others in the task of compiling work theme church services.

What Is Worship?

In its essence, worship is about praise and adoration of God.

Worship is recognition of what God is.

Worship calls attention to God's purpose for us and for the world.

What Does Work Have to Do with Worship?

While worship often happens on Sunday, its benefits aren't limited to the weekend.

Worship helps Christians orient themselves with God's purpose.

Worship equips people to be more effective agents in carrying that purpose out.

Christians can and should carry out God's purposes at the place where they spend the majority of their waking hourse: the workplace.

Churches that incorporate work-themed prayers into their Sunday services help working Christians bridge the gap between Sunday worship and Monday work.

What follows are a variety of Confession Prayers about work. 

We Who Have Been Called to the Light Choose Darkness (Prayer)

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INVITATION TO CONFESSION

We who have received much have not always been grateful. We who have been called to work with God for the good of others as well as ourselves have often been selfish. We who have been called to live in the light often choose darkness. We who have been called to be salt to the world often prove to have no taste. In the knowledge of our weakness, ignorance and deliberate choice, let us confess our sins to Almighty God.

CONFESSION

Almighty God, with sorrow we confess that the gifts you have given us are spoiled by our selfishness and lack of regard for your sovereign will. We have failed to love you or your creation. We have failed to see you in our daily work, or in those who share it with us. We have taken for granted those who serve us through the gift of their labour. We are sorry for our failures, which have been hurtful to us as well as to others. Release us from the burden of our guilt so that we can step into the future unafraid, and, strengthened by the knowledge of your abiding love, follow in the footsteps of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Priest/minister shall pronounce:

ABSOLUTION

Almighty God, who forgives all who truly repent, have mercy upon you [us], pardon and deliver you from all your sins, confirm and strengthen you in all goodness, and keep you in life eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

We Have Spoiled the Many Gifts of Hand and Brain with Our Selfishness (Prayer)

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Lord of the universe, we praise you for your creation, for the wonder of space, the beauty of the world and the value of the earth's resources. We praise you for the many different skills of hand and brain.

We recognise that we often spoil these gifts by our selfishness, and because we are sometimes distrustful and destructive.

Forgive us we pray. Help us to use all that you give to us for the good of all people; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Gracious Lord, we bring before you our personal failures in our daily work. We have been poor stewards of your gifts; we have not given you the glory, nor laboured in your love. We confess too the faults of our industrial society: continuing injustice, lack of harmony, the inability - and worse - the unwillingness to seek the paths of reconciliation. Have mercy upon us, and grant that, as the workshop at Nazareth was blessed through the labour of the Christ, so the workplaces of this land may be enriched by the work of those who call him 'Lord'. We ask this in his name. Amen.

Forgive Us Our Closed Minds Which Barricade Themselves Against New Ideas (Prayer)

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Spirit of God,
you are the breath of creation,
the wind of change that blows through our lives,
opening up new dreams and new hopes,
new life in Jesus Christ.

Forgive our closed minds
which barricade themselves against new ideas,
preferring the past
to what you might want to do
through us tomorrow.

Forgive our closed eyes
which fail to see the needs of your world,
blind to the opportunities of service and love.

Forgive our closed hands
which clutch our gifts and our wealth
for our use alone.

Forgive our closed hearts
which limit our affection
to ourselves and our own.

Spirit of new life,
forgive and break down the prison walls
of our selfishness,
that we might be open to your love
and open for the service of your world;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(Janet Morley)

Let Us Confess to God Those Things That Are Wrong in Our Work (Prayer)

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Let us confess to God those things that are wrong in our work:
That the presence of God at work is often overlooked;
That creative people are often subjected to long, boring and unrelenting routines;
That skills are undeveloped through lack of training;
That resources are wasted in shoddy work and the production of unwanted goods;
That the maximisation of profit often excludes concern for people;
That men and women are discriminated against because of age, race, gender, disability, lack of skill and length of employment;
That the poor stand so little chance against the power of the rich, and the world's destitute are forgotten.

Lord, have mercy upon us. Forgive us our sins and help us to amend our lives. Amen.

We Bring Before You, Lord, All the Failures of Our Daily Work (Prayer)

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Let us be assured of God's power to relieve sin, to take away our burden and debt.
We bring before you, Lord, all the failure of our daily work;
We have fallen short of your demands upon us;
We have not given you the glory, nor worked in your love.

Good Lord, forgive us:
Forgive us, Lord.

We confess the faults of the industrial society in which we work,
the inequalities, the injustices of all systems
and the difficulties we have in changing them.

Good Lord, forgive us:
Forgive us, Lord.

We have not worked together as brothers and sisters of your family.
There have been differences,
lack of co-operation and chances of reconciliation missed.
We have not brought out the best in others.

Good Lord, forgive us:
Forgive us, Lord.

We have wasted and misused the raw materials of the earth,
and scarred the beauty of nature.
We have not made best use of the time and skills you have given us.

Good Lord, forgive us:
Forgive us, Lord.

We have not met the needs of the hungry and impoverished of the world.
We have not been able to meet the demands of those without work.

Good Lord, forgive us:
Forgive us, Lord.

We Enjoy the Fruits of Our Work But Forget You Gave Them to Us (Prayer)

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We are to be regarded as Christ's servants and as stewards of God's creation.
We know that we have fallen short of what is required of us.
So let us confess our sins, in penitence and faith, firmly resolved to keep God's commandments, and to live in love and peace with all people.

We confess our sin, and the sins of our society in the misuse of God's creation.
God our Father, we are sorry for the times when we have used your gifts carelessly, and acted as though we were not grateful.

Father, in your mercy
forgive us and help us.

We enjoy the fruits of our work but sometimes forget that you have given them to us.

Father, in your mercy
forgive us and help us.

We belong to a people who are full and satisfied but ignore the cry of the hungry.

Father, in your mercy
forgive us and help us.

We are thoughtless, and do not care enough for the world you have made.

Father, in your mercy
forgive us and help us.

Some of us store up goods for ourselves alone, as if there were no God and no heaven.

Father, in your mercy
forgive us and help us.

The Lord enrich you with his grace, and nourish you with his blessing;
the Lord defend you in trouble and keep you from all evil;
the Lord accept your prayers
and absolve you from your offences,
for the sake of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Forgive Us When We Are Too Rushed to Care (Prayer)

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For our incapacity to feel the sufferings of others,
and our tendency to live comfortably with injustice,
God forgive us.

For the self-righteousness which denies guilt,
and the self-interest which strangles compassion,
God forgive us.

For those who live their lives in careless unconcern,
who cry 'Peace, peace' where there is no peace,
We ask your mercy.

For our failings in community,
our lack of understanding,
We ask your mercy.

For our lack of forgiveness, openness, sensitivity,
God forgive us.

For the times we are too eager to be better than others,
when we are too rushed to care,
when we are too tired to bother,
when we don't really listen,
when we are too quick to act from motives other than love,
God forgive us.

Forgive Us When Like Spoiled Children We Treat Your Generosity as Our Right (Prayer)

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God, you heap your love upon us
like a mother providing for her family's needs,
embracing her child with tenderness.

Forgive us
when, like spoiled children,
we treat your generosity as our right,
or hug it possessively to ourselves.

Give us enough trust to live secure in your love
and to share it freely with others
in open-handed confidence
that your grace will never run out. Amen.