Prayers of Confession on Advent

Holy Lord, in this time of Advent, we confess we often are distracted by the season’s busyness, by the stress of commitment, and even by putting our own traditions ahead of the true meaning of Christmas. We confess we also often prefer being sentimental to being sacrificial. Forgive us for all the times we have missed seeing You in our midst, for all the times we have doubted Your presence, and for all the times we have failed to hold the holidays as holy days. Pour peace into our lives and let us be bearers of Your peace to others. Remind us that this is a season of waiting and preparation for the greatest Gift of all. In the holy Name of our Savior, Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church

When we allow darkness to overcome the light,

forgive us, Lord.

When we reduce Christmas to plastic and tinsel,

have mercy on us, Father.

When hardness of heart keeps us from seeing

and hearing and touching the needs of others,

let your grace consume us, O God.

When the wars around us are of no concern,

forgive us, Lord, and move us to compassion

for those who suffer.

When our caring is not extended to action,

move us to seek justice for our brothers and sisters.

We come to confess our sinfulness

before you and before each other.

Remove all barriers that divide us,

and let there be no obstacle to our love for you

and for one another. Amen.

All pray in silence.

Lord of Christmas Peace,
we have done wrong. We have tarnished the gift you gave freely.  We have buried you so deeply in our hearts, the world doesn’t see you. We have not followed Christ,
we have ignored your teachings, we have lived lives of apathy
against your love, we have built fences and fortresses to push people away, and we have silenced the screams of those in need.

Forgive us, we pray. Free us from our sin,
Free us to a life lived in Joy through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Nathan Decker 

Almighty God, you have surprised us with your presence in unexpected ways. In the expectations of our routine, we have missed the treasure that you place before us. We come to worship you in community often expecting nothing more than the usual. We begin our days, our weeks, assuming all will run as it always has. We do not look for the unexpected, for your active presence in our daily lives and for that we confess our sorrow. Forgive us for not allowing our eyes to catch the unexpected, to glimpse your glory in the ordinary. May this season, we see the presence of your Son by the power of your Spirit in new and transformative ways. Amen. 

Scott Bullock

Lord, you came to us when we least expected. We thought that all hope for humanity was lost, or that it was up to humanity to save ourselves or we would not be saved, or that some god or other would swoop down from the heavens and deliver us. Then you came to us in the dark of night, born to Mary and Joseph; you came to us as a baby. Lord, forgive us when we don’t see you because we look in the wrong places, or because you give us hope for your advent, or because we expect you to come in power, majesty, and glory rather than in humility, poverty, and meekness. Lord, help us to experience your birth among us. God with us. God with us not on our terms, but on your terms, as a baby, Jesus, a human one who took upon himself our humanity that we might be brought back to God. Amen.

Will Willimons Lectionary Sermon Resource: Year A Part 1, Abingdon Press, 2019.

Loving and faithful God, as we begin the season of Advent, we celebrate that Jesus has come, and that He promises to come again! Jesus came to bring light and hope, but our hearts are often shrouded by darkness and despair. Jesus came to bring joy and peace, but our hearts are often encased by sorrow and turmoil. Jesus came to bring life and love, but our hearts are often hardened by resistance and contempt. As Jesus entered the world to conquer sin and death, we open our hearts in confession to be cleansed from our sinfulness and to be restored to the image of Jesus. Thank You, God, that You so loved the world, that You gave Your Son so that we might not perish, but have eternal life. In the Name of Jesus, We pray, Amen.

Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church

Long-Awaited Messiah, a prayer of confession for Advent

By Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, www.revlisad.com

Based on the prayers of Mary and Zechariah found in Luke 1

Long-awaited Messiah

Lord of Hope

Have mercy


Long-awaited Messiah

Defender of Compassion

Have mercy


Long-awaited Messiah

Provider, Protector, Liberator

Have mercy


Release us from

the chains of this moment, born of imprisoned years

the distractions and false calls of those who cannot help


Release us from

the blindness to our complicity, frailty, and poverty

the apathy keeping us from seeing, speaking, and caring


Release us from

the weight of needs stealing our courage to try

the slowness of change chipping away at our enduring


Have mercy on us

Finish your good and generous work



Long-awaited Messiah © 2020 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, www.revlisad.com

(Prayer of Adoration)

Good morning, Father.  While we slept last night – You were awake, sustaining our world, protecting us and readying a new day.  

Jesus – You hold us in the palms of Your hands: strong hands, compassionate hands, firm hands, healing hands, hands that heal, hands that are nail-scarred still, now and forever, such is the duration of Your love. 

And Spirit – our Comforter, generous and powerful: You gift and equip us with all things necessary to live today for Your glory [Father, Son and Holy Spirit] and to our joy. 

We praise You for who You are; we thank You for all Your good gifts to us … and we look forward to when You’ll return to clean up the mess and take us home. 

(Prayer of Confession)

Yet, if we’re honest, we don’t live anticipating Your Advent arrival with joy and gratitude.  We’ve got too many things we want to experience.  We subtly say, “Lord – not yet; not until I get what I want, or do what I want.”  We live unprepared for Your coming.  We care more for ourselves than for others.  Our eyes are closed to another’s pain and our hearts break over the wrong things – a lost football game rather than a lost soul, a lost child or a lost city. 

Richard Herman

O eternal and gracious God, All year long we pursue power, money, and influence. Yet You come to us in the weakness of the manger. All season long we covet material gifts. Yet You alone offer us the only everlasting gift: Your Son, Jesus Christ, God with us. We confess to You our pride, our faithlessness, and our reluctance to accept Your grace. Through the work of the Lord Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, forgive us, heal us, correct us, and transform us. Then enable us to be still, to know Your presence, and to praise You. We pray through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church

Lord Jesus Christ, you are loving and merciful.  Forgive us for being so captivated by Christmas that we forget that you, the little baby in the manger, grew up as the Lord over all creation. It is sometimes easier to leave you in the manger than it is to reckon with your difficult teachings and fierce challenges. So often we do not follow these teachings, and we do not live up to your challenges. We need your grace and your strength to follow you more closely.  Forgive us for al of our sins, as we continue to pray in silence…

Silent Prayer

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Submitted by Chip Hardwick

We confess, O God, that the Christmas rush is typical of our efforts to live the Christian life.  We pursue peace on earth, but we end up with frayed nerves and short tempers. We wish good will to all, but in our unceasing hurry we feel malice toward all instead.  Joy gives way to frustration, and the spirit of Scrooge replaces the Spirit of Christ. Forgive our foolishness, and remind us again that our Lord was born into a world just like this. Hear us as we continue to pray in silence…

Silent Prayer

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Submitted by Chip Hardwick

To You, Present Lord—Emmanuel—the One who is with us, we confess:
         In hearing Your voice, we have closed our ears.
         In sensing Your leading, we have turned away.
         In feeling Your presence, we have hidden from You.

We have sinned in closing:
        Our hands to the hungry, poor, and needy.
        Our hearts to the hurting and hopeless.
        Our love and lives to our neighbors.

Good and Merciful Shepherd, we ask:
        Snatch us from our sin.
        Guide us into Your love.
        Lead us in paths of righteousness, for Your name’s sake.

Daniel Morris

Hear us as we continue our confession in silence….Lord Jesus Christ, at your birth the angels gave glory to God in the highest heaven, and offered peace on earth to all humankind. We struggle to follow the heavenly host. All too often we focus on giving glory to ourselves, trying to impress our friends, coworkers, and family. We make no move to further peace in our polarized world; we forget that you have called us to be ambassadors of reconciliation.  Forgive us for these and all our sins, and strengthen us to join the angels’ song. Hear us as we continue to pray in silence…

Silent Prayer

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Submitted by Chip Hardwick

Lord Christ, we confess our willingness to be loved but also our reluctance to love. We confess our readiness to accept your forgiving love but also our refusal to forgive. We confess our eagerness to grasp your offer of redeeming love but also our resistance to follow you without question. In this Advent time, forgive us our failure to respond as we should. Come to us anew, and by your grace, assist us to receive you with joy, as the shepherds; with gratitude, as Simeon; with obedience, as Mary; with love, as you have loved us. Even so: come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Submitted by Dustin Ray

 Adapted from “Weaknesses” in The Valley of Vision

Pastor: O Spirit of God, help my infirmities. When I am pressed down because of my sin, perplexed and not knowing what to do, help me.

All: When you see that I desire evil things, delighting in sinful actions, longing for things that grieve your heart, then grant me the kiss of your forgiveness, and teach my feet to walk in the way of your commandments.

Pastor: Deliver me from these worries and make me a joyful, holy person. Help me to walk a holy life with firm and brave step, and to wrestle successfully against my weaknesses.

All: Teach me to praise, adore, and magnify your name. Give me power to live as your child. Lead me on the road to your eternal kingdom, whether the road be rough or smooth.

*Silent Confession


Submitted by Dustin Ray

 The Advent Collect

Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and for ever. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer

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