Thursday, March 19, 2015

An Act of Penitence for Body and Soul

These prayers are adapted from the private prayers of Bishop Lancelot Andrewes and are drawn mostly from Scripture. They may be used as a Lenten or Friday devotion (perhaps most appropriately on Good Friday), or in preparation for making a private confession. This is an example of Classical Anglican spirituality, calling for patient reflection and sober self-examination.
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A Note on using this prayer:

This form of prayer is meant to be offered with the full person: body and soul. When the Trisagion (“Holy God, Holy and Mighty“ &c.) is said, the pattern is first to stand, then to offer the Trisagion three times, each time bowing deeply (or making a full prostration) and blessing one’s self with the sign of the cross, followed by kneeling again to continue the prayer. During the body of the prayer, ample time should be left between each petition to ask God's guidance in applying it to our own situation. This is not a prayer to be "rattled off." One should set aside ample time for this devotion.

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Prayer before Penitential Devotions

“O Lord, my heart is ready!” say the words of the Psalm.
But, Lord, I fear that mine is not:
I desire indeed, and I grieve if it is not.
Would God it were ready! Pity me that it is not.
O Lord, I desire to be open and prepared:
            help me in my closed heart and supply my unpreparedness.
I will set my sins before me, so that they be not before you.

[Here may follow one or more of the Penitential Psalms: 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143]

Our Father, &c.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One: have mercy upon us.

I have sinned.
I am a sinner, for my life betrays me.
I confess my sin to you, for if I try, I cannot hide it from you, O Lord.
Only you can bring a clean thing out of an unclean thing.

I have sinned, I have done what is wrong and dealt wickedly.
I have betrayed my covenant with you, sealed in Holy Baptism.
I have rejected your law.
I have refused correction.
I have vexed the Spirit.
I have walked after my own will.
I have chosen to sin again and again.
I have not feared you.
I have not returned to you,
            Even when you called to me in the midst of my sin,
                        But I have instead grown hard of heart.
I have provoked you.
And all these things you have seen and have held your tongue.

I have sinned in
            Necessities and luxuries;
            By what I have done, and what I have not done;
            Inwardly: in my heart and mind
            Outwardly: by word and deeds
I have sinned against
            My own body

I have sinned
            Long ago,
            At each stage of my life,
            When angry,
            When coolly calculating,
            Before I responded to you,
            And after,
In ways I remember,
And in ways I have forgotten.

In whatever way:
            From childhood even until now,
            Even until this moment,
            Known or unknown,
            Within or without,
            Sleeping or waking,
            In words, deeds, thoughts,
            Through the fiery darts of the enemy,
            Through memories,
            Through unclean desires of the flesh,
That I have sinned against you,
Have mercy on me, O God, and forgive me.

I am penitent, sorry for the wound
Ashamed of the spot, stain, and filth
Grieved and indignant from the guilt
Afraid of the punishment
Weary of the yoke of sin.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One: have mercy upon us.

O, remember of what I am made; that I am
            Dust and ashes
            Grass and a flower
            Flesh and a wind that passes away
Like a stranger and a wayfarer,
            Dwelling in a house of clay,
            Days few and evil,
            Today and not tomorrow,
            In the morning and not so long as till evening,
Now, but not abiding,
            In a body of death,
            In a world of corruption,
                        Lying in wickedness.
Remember this, O Lord.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One: have mercy upon us.

Two things I recognize in myself, O Lord;
            The nature which you have made,
            The sin which I have added.
I confess that by my fault I have disfigured nature:
            But remember that I am a wind,
                        That passes away and comes not again.
For of myself I cannot escape sin.
            Let not my wickedness destroy what your goodness has redeemed.
O Lord my God, if I have done what makes me a criminal in your eyes,
            Could I go so far as not to be your servant?
If in my sin I have done away with my innocence,
            Have I also destroyed your mercy for me?
If I have worked my own condemnation,
            Have you lost your desire to save me?
My conscience, O Lord, deserves condemnation;
            But your mercy is greater than any offense.
Spare me: for it is not above your power, beyond your mercy, outside our loving-kindness.
You have created and redeemed me, do not destroy or condemn me.
You have created me by your goodness, do not let your work be destroyed by my iniquity.
Acknowledge in me what is yours,
            Let not your work perish by my sin.
Recognize in me what is yours;
            And take away from me what I have done to your gift.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One: have mercy upon us.

Let no sinful or guilty pleasures oppress me.
Let no sinful habit crush me.
From evil and unlawful desires,
From vain, offensive, and unclean thoughts,
From deceits of evil spirits,
From pollutions of mind and body,
Deliver me, O Lord.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One: have mercy upon us.

You can forgive more than I can commit sin.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One: have mercy upon us.

Remember and think upon your servant as you have taught in your Word, wherein you have cause me to put my trust.
Establish me according to your Word, that I may live, not being disappointed in my hope.
You will not always be chiding, neither do you keep your anger for ever.
You will not deal with us after our sins, you do not reward us according to our iniquities.
You are so merciful that you forgave us our sins, so as not to destroy us.
Your mercy triumphs.

“Come now and let us reason together,” said the Lord:

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be like wool.”
“When you turn and groan, then you shall be saved.”
“The Lord will wait, that he may be gracious to you.”
“I am he that blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember your sins.”
“I have swept away your transgressions like a cloud, and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.”
“Let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; 
let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”

Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One: have mercy upon us.

Lord, hear my prayer.
And let my cry come unto you.

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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