A General Prayer

Father,

First and foremost I confess that Thou art holy, righteous, and all knowing, and that Thou canst not look upon sin, in all its filth. Thou art high, lofty, and wholly other. Thus, in acknowledgment of Thy great holiness, and Thy righteous disdain for sin, I can only come before Thee with great humility and shame of face. I have not loved Thee as I ought, nor have I loved Thy law. I have spurned Thy goodness toward me and have repaid Thee with but more sin. I am a vile creature and deserve nothing but death and eternal judgment under Thy wrath. Even mine heart tries to deceive me that such things are not so, but Thou, and Thy light, expose me for what I am.

O Father in heaven forgive my sins in Christ! I have put other things before Thee, whether it be entertainment, work, or even mine own grief about perceived frowning providences. Have mercy on me according to Thy steadfast love to Thy Son, and all His people that Thou hast given Him. I have also broken Thy second commandment in that I have not perfectly approached Thee in only the way that Thou hast commanded. If in proper form, not with an enlarged heart. If with an enlarged heart (perceived), not in proper form. If with both proper form and an enlarged heart, not with perpetual diligence. And so I find myself unable to keep Thy law. I find myself replacing Thy laws with laws of mine own in order to assuage my guilt. Forgive me for my breach of these, Thine holy commandments.

Father, not only have I engaged with idols, and not only have I approached Thee insufficiently, but I have also taken Thine Holy Name in vanity. I have not treated Thy Name, Thy Word, and everything about Thee with utmost reverence and awe. I have thought lightly of Thy works. I have profaned Thy sabbath by not giving myself fully to Thine ordinances in perfection and perpetuation. I have wandered on to subjects not befitting of Thine holy day. I have pursued thoughts that are not fitting for any day, much less Thy Day. Thou knowest all the thoughts of my heart and how I have transgressed against Thee in them. I acknowledge them and confess them before Thee, O God.

According to Thy fifth commandment I have been found lax in giving honor to those over me whereunto honor is due. I have failed in keeping the obligations I have to those who are mine equals, and I have not sufficiently served and loved those over whom I have authority. In my callousness, O God, I have not loved my neighbor as is commanded. Though Thou, the Almighty God of all, hast showered me with mercy and blessings and steadfast love, I have not shown even a hint of such to my brethren. I have spoken foolishly against them, or have hated them in mine heart. I have not sought to cover their sins, but rather have left them exposed to unnecessary shame before other sinners.

Father, Thou knowest mine inmost thoughts and how I have committed spiritual adultery against Thee. Thou also knowest how I have not commanded mine heart with pure thoughts that are becoming of those such as are Thy children. How I have secretly desired after that which is not rightly mine and how I have not exercised discipline and growth in godliness. I confess my sins of not giving everything due when it is due. I acknowledge that in some way, shape, or form I have broken Thine eighth commandment. Thou hast searched me and Thou knowest me. Make known to me even those sins of which I’m not yet aware, but that are nevertheless sins against Thee. Forgive me for hidden faults and purge me of secret sins.

O the many ways I have broken Thy ninth commandment, O God. They are too numerous to count! Whether it be speaking the truth out of season, or not upholding the good name of my neighbor in every instance, Father, Thou knowest my faults here. Make them all the more known to me. Also, merciful God, I have not been content with what Thou hast given me. I have looked at others’ estates, places, and stations and have wanted what they have, and have murmured against what I have. I am truly a great sinner, and yet Christ is the Great Savior. It is in His righteousness that I come before Thee, and it is by His merit I ask Thee forgiveness of my many sins. And it is by the shedding of His blood that such forgiveness has been purchased. I know, O Father, how Thou dost love Thy Son and how Thou hast given Him a sinful people to redeem for Himself. So it is Thy Covenant Love to which I appeal for the forgiveness of my sins. It is Thy promise to save those to the uttermost who call upon Thy name to which I cling, and confidently so by the imputed righteousness of Thy Son.

I also give Thee thanks, O Lord, for the temporal blessings that Thou heapest upon me. For meat, drink, and shelter. For employment. For above and beyond necessities which I certainly do not deserve. I pray that I’d ever be thankful for such and trust wholly in Thee for my daily needs. In light of Thine exceeding goodness to me, and in light of the mountain of transgressions that Thou hast forgiven me, I pray also Lord for a heart that would forgive those who have sinned against me. For what am I to them but another poor sinner who only deserves wrath and dishonor? And yet should I not graciously forgive them if Thou hast forgiven me?! I am indebted to Thee only, and so are they, so I cannot hold any debt over them, as if they owe me something.

I am mindful of my frail frame, O God, and how easily I am swayed to ignore Thy pleadings and the holy dictates of Thy law. Thus, Father, I pray that Thou wouldst keep me from temptation, insofar as it is Thy will. However, when I am tested, at Thy good pleasure, let me cling to Thy righteousness for mine help, remembering Thy Word, and knowing that Thou dost always give a way of escape. For all these things, O Lord, Thou art to be greatly praised. Thy mercies are new every morning, and that truth is a comforting truth for a sinner such as I am. Thou art to be exalted far above all things, and art the only God Who is. Surely Thy Kingdom will prevail, and surely Thou wilt continually be crowned with glory and honor forever and ever, and Thy Son the King of kings forever worshiped and adored. For it is in His Name that I pray all these things.

Amen.

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