Here’s a thoughtful prayer of confession/words of assurance based on the scripture readings for Epiphany 5B (February 5, 2012). They were written by Moira Laidlaw.
Prayer of Confession
(based on Isaiah 40:1-11, 1 Corinthians 9:16-23)
Merciful God, the words in Isaiah about not knowing you, and not hearing about you, resonate within us as we link them with the words of Paul—“woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel!" We know that one of the greatest challenges today is to communicate the gospel so that people really hear it. Yet so often our persistence in clinging to old and familiar traditions, practices, and language, block people from hearing and experiencing the good news of Jesus Christ. Woe to us all if we persist in proclaiming the gospel in words and ways which put people down rather than build them up.
Forgive us, O God, for clinging to the use of language which excludes people from hearing the great good news about Jesus.
Woe to us all if our lives and characters proclaim other than the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Forgive us, O God, for the times when our piety is visible on Sundays, but hard to detect the rest of the week.
Woe to us all if the gospel is proclaimed only within these walls and not daily in the communities where we live or study or work.
Forgive us, O God, for earnestly praising and worshipping you in words and ritual, whilst ducking for cover when it comes to performing deeds of mercy and service.
Woe to us all if we forget that proclamation of the gospel goes hand in hand with the belief that the hopes and dreams of the downtrodden and powerless can be transformed into reality when we risk stepping out in faith.
Forgive us, O God, if our zeal for mission and evangelism is shaped by the state of our finances rather than the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Strengthen us with the Holy Spirit to do all for the sake of the gospel, so that we and all those to whom it is proclaimed may share in its blessings. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen
Assurance of Forgiveness
(based on 2 Corinthians 5:17)
Hear the good news: Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. The old life is gone; a new life has begun. (based on 2 Cor 5: 17) Friends, believe the gospel: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven!
Thanks be to God!
— written by Moira Laidlaw, and posted on the Liturgies Online website.
For more worship resources for February 5, 2012 (the fifth Sunday after Epiphany), click on Epiphany 5B in the list of “Labels” at the lower right side of the page.
For more prayers of confession/words of assurance on this blog, click on Confession or Words of assurance in the list of “Labels” at the lower right, or see the scriptural Confession Index at the upper right.