Prayer seeking forgiveness/reconciliation

Leader: God, we are very conscious of the barriers we have built so high between ourselves. We are ashamed of all the time and energy we have spent barricading ourselves from each other.

People: Jesus, who breaks down all barriers, help us to demolish ours, and be willing to make friends with others.

Leader: We bring to you our petty and self-centred anger of hurt pride and wounded feelings that readily lashes out with tongue or fist. And yet not all anger is wrong. We are thankful for that anger which we can be proud of - the sort of anger which berates injustice and fights for the underdog.

People: Jesus, who shares all our emotions, but who chose always the way of love, forgive us our wrongful anger. Take away our smallness of mind and fill us instead with your far-seeing compassion.

Leader: We bring to you our grudges, our hurts and disappointments. We confess that we have nursed them so closely and covered them up so well that they have festered within us. The pain of unreleased hurts is too much to bear.

People: Jesus, our healer, clean out these wounds within us today we pray. Help us to allow the healthy scar tissue of forgiveness to form.

Leader: We remember with shame those we have hurt, trodden on, ignored or dismissed.

People: Jesus, friend of the outcast, forgive us our insensitive pride. Forgive us for taking as a right all the good things your world offers with no thought for others.

Leader: We confess that in all our absorption with self, we have rarely heard your "still small voice". We hear it now though, with frightening clarity. "I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger and you did not invite me in. I needed clothes and you did not clothe me. I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me."

People: Jesus, forgive us. Open our eyes. We hear your call at last to open our hearts and homes to the needy around us. You who held nothing back from us expect us to go the extra mile. Help us to give willingly and even joyfully.

Leader: Our prayer is heard, we are forgiven. Jesus says, "I love you, live in my love." We are the continuing ministry of Christ's love. Amen.

A litany of repentance using words from Isaiah 1 and 58

Leader 1: How do we respond to the hard words of the prophets? The Lord says, "Announce to my people their rebellion...and their sins. Day after day they seek me and delight to know my ways, as if they were a people that practiced righteousness...They delight to draw near to God." "When you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; for your hands are full of blood."

Leader 2: Forgive us God, for our empty mouthing; our pious utterances. You have looked behind them and to our shame have found a lack of love and compassion and an unwillingness to work for justice.

People: We find it hard to express our sorrow. Forgive us.

Leader 1: The Lord says "I don't want your fasting. Your fasting makes you violent and you quarrel and fight. When you fast you make yourselves suffer. Is that what you call fasting? Do you think I will be pleased with that?"

Leader 2: God, you see our narrowness, our lack of enjoyment of life, and our intolerance. Our self-inflicted "though shalt nots" have made us irritable with each other and often unappealing to those outside the church.

People: We find it hard to express our sorrow. Forgive us.

Leader 1: The Lord says: "The kind of fasting I want is this: Remove the chains of oppression and the yoke of injustice and let the oppressed go free. Share your food with the hungry and open your home to the homeless poor. Give clothes to those who have nothing to wear, and do not refuse to help your own relatives."

People: Forgive us, O God, we were blind. Now we begin to see what you want of us. Help us to go out from here, to go beyond words and to start living your good news.

Leader 2: "Then my favour" says God, "will shine upon you like the morning sun and your wounds will be quickly healed. Your people will rebuild what has long been in ruins, building again on the old foundations. You will be known as the people who rebuilt the walls, who restored the ruined houses."

All: We will work together with God to restore creation.

Amen.

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