Confessions about Work

Worship / Produced by partner of TOW

These Confessions are part of "Work in Worship," a collection of material for work-themed services compiled by David Welbourn. For more prayers, songs, readings and sermons, click on the table of contents to the right.

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.

*****

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:

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we have sinned against you, through our own fault, in thought and word and deed, and in what we have left undone. For your Son our Lord Jesus Christ's sake, forgive us all that is past; and grant that we may serve you in newness of life to the glory of your name. Amen.

ABSOLUTION

Almighty God, who forgives all who truly repent, have mercy upon you, 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.

******

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.

******

Lord, you support those who stumble and raise those who are oppressed. Forgive our indifference and our lack of compassion.

Father, forgive us, we have wronged our neighbour, we have condoned injustice, we have marred your image in us. Help us to hunger and thirst to see right prevail, so that all people may be free to live and praise your name. Amen.

May God show us mercy by forgiving our sins and confirming us in his goodness. May we continue to share Christ's risen life and so bring life to others. Amen.

*****

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)

******

Lord, the world as you created it was very good. Forgive us all for the mess which humankind has brought upon the earth. Forgive our greed, which strips the earth of its natural resources and concentrates wealth in the hands of a few people and a few nations. Amen.

******

For the presence in our world of poverty and inequality, injustice and exploitation, by individuals, by countries and by powerful economic blocs...

Forgive us Lord.

For the times we are motivated by getting more for ourselves, while our neighbour goes in want...

Forgive us Lord.

For the long-term unemployed, especially those who see others around them again finding employment...

We pray to you O God.

For those forced to do overtime to keep their jobs, and for their families...

We pray to you, O God.

For [particular local concerns]…..

We pray to you, O God.

******

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.

******

O God, you have searched us out and known us,
and all that we are is open to you.

We confess that we have sinned:
we have used our power to dominate
and our weakness to manipulate;
we have evaded responsibility
and failed to confront evil;
we have denied dignity to the whole of Creation,
to ourselves and to each other.

We have failed to celebrate life
and refused to challenge death.

We turn to you, O God;
we renounce evil;
we claim your love;
we choose to be made whole.

******

A PRAYER FROM SOUTH AFRICA

You asked for my hands that you might use them for your purpose,
I gave them for a moment
Then withdrew them, for the work was hard.

You asked for my mouth to speak out against injustice,
I gave you a whisper
That I might not be accused.

You asked for my eyes to see the pain of poverty,
I close them, for I did not want to see.

You asked for my life that you might work through me,
I gave a small part of it, that I might not get "too involved".

Lord, forgive me for my calculated efforts to serve you
Only when it is convenient for me to do so,
Only in those places where it is safe to do so,
And only with those who make it easy to do so.

Father, forgive me, renew me;
Send me out as a usable instrument,
That I might take more seriously the meaning of your cross. Amen.

(From YMCA 'Windows into Worship' beige section p.5)

*****

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 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.

******

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.

******

Spirit of truth and judgement,
who alone can exorcise
the powers that grip our world;
at the point of crisis
give us your discernment,
that we may accurately name what is evil,
and know the way that leads to peace,
through Jesus Christ. Amen.

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

******

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 spoilt 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.

******

Praise the Lord, O my soul!

While I live I will praise the Lord.

Lord, you support those who stumble and raise those who are oppressed. Forgive our indifference and our lack of compassion.

Father, forgive us, we have wronged our neighbour, we have condoned injustice, we have marred your image in us. Help us to hunger and thirst to see right prevail, so that all people may be free to live and praise your name. Amen.

May God show us mercy by forgiving our sins and confirming us in his goodness. May we continue to share Christ's risen life and so bring life to others. Amen.

******

THE ENVIRONMENT

God of creation, the earth is yours
with all its beauty and goodness,
its rich and over-flowing provision.
But we have claimed it for our own,
plundered its beauty for profit,
grabbed its resources for ourselves.
God of creation, forgive us.
May we no longer abuse your trust,
but care gently and with justice for your earth. Amen.



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