Monday, 1 June 2015

New Directory for Public Worship (5)


Editor’s comment: The New Directory is very full in detailing public confession. It does so by giving both seed thoughts and examples of prayers under three headings: our sins against God, against our fellow men, and against the Gospel and the Holy Spirit.

We today are so shallow in public confession of social sin. I have rarely heard such direct and specific confession of sins against others as are contained in the new Directory  These skeleton prayers are not only a guide to public prayer, they are a useful tool in personal examination and confession.

I will modernise as far as possible and conform scriptural quotations to the ESV.

Confession of Sins against our Fellow Men and Women

1. To equals

We have not regarded a brother's dignity, worth, interests : nor honoured or esteemed him better than ourselves : nor rejoiced in his gifts, advancement.

We have tried to undervalue him : envied his success, talents, attainments : grieved at his prosperity : resented his outstripping us in life : sacrificed his happiness to our own ends.

2. To superiors. 
[Editor: I have replaced masters / servants with employers / employees]

We have been undutiful, disobedient to those who are over us.
We mourn over our slothfulness, unfaithfulness, as employees.
We are slow to begin our work, eager to have done.
How easy for us all to be rude and grudging in our service.
How hard to be patient, unmurmuring : to be gentle to employers who wrong us :to be good to employers who are evil.
When insulted, we answer in kind.
We have flattered our superiors to serve our own purposes, and then we have dispised them.

3. To inferiors.

We have sometimes been careless to the point of cruelty towards the poor. Because they were poor, we forgot they were your children, and heirs of your Kingdom.

We have sometimes commanded things that were unjust, untrue, unseemly.
We have encouraged and favoured what was evil : discouraged what was good and worthy : left our neighbour exposed to wrong or to temptation.

5. Duties to parents, children, &c.

6. Sample Seed Prayers Confessing our Sins against Others

6.1 God of all gentleness, have mercy upon us, for being angry without a cause : our desire of revenge, when vengeance belongs to you :
our hatred against any child of yours :
our speaking words that provoked to anger :
our prejudices against a brother :
our harbouring secret grudges against another :
our being implacable towards an enemy :
our spirit of strife, quarrelling, contention :
anything we have said or done that has broken the peace of our home, our congregation.

6.2  O God, who is full of tenderness and sympathy and mercy, forgive our unforgiving words : our unkindly, unfeeling, unsympathetic conversation : our silence when others were unkind, cruel : our own cruel words — resentful, revengeful : our wounding other through scandal : our hurting a brother's feelings : our words that were meant to cut and rankle.

6.3  O  Father, whose thoughts towards us are love, forgive our lack of thought for one another : our hardness of heart : our shutting up our compassion for the needy : our indifference to them, ignorance of our quenching thoughts of kindliness, forgiveness : our lackt of quietness of mind : our uncharitable judgments of men : that we are not gentle and courteous in speech especially to those who insult us : our lack of patience with the ignorant, the slow, the wilful : that we are not ready to be reconciled to those who have wronged us or whom we have wronged.

6.4  O Lord, you are of purer eyes than to behold evil with indifference, we mourn over all our impurity of life and thought : over all impurity in affections, imagination, words, or behaviour : our lack of watchfulness over thought, heart, onduct : all lack of decency in speech and behaviour.
We lament that we have listened to corrupt conversations when we should have rebuked them : everything we have done that suggested evil to others : idleness that encourages thoughts of evil.

As a nation we mourn and lament over foolish jesting and talk that is inappropriate, giving respect to those men and women made in your image who live to debase and destroy their fellow humans.

6.5   O Lord, you alone are faithful and true, we confess all our unfaithfulness. Thou know what wrongs are done among us : what unfairness in contracts : what dishonesty in business : what oppression of the poor, what extortion : what bribery, what covetousness.
We think too much of gain and too little of men's souls.
Men add field to field and drive your people from the land :
Men increase their wealth while impoverishing others:
Strive to be rich at the cost of a brother : grow rich and despise you.
We mourn over our nation's love of luxurious living, excessive spending, wastefulness.

6.6  Idleness. 

Almighty God, who is ever working for our good, we mourn over any neglect of work of which we have been guilty : our lack of diligence in it : our lack of care in what you have given us : our distracting care about the future, what we shall eat and drink, and how shall we shall be clothed.

6.7  Our love of money.

O Lord, who possesses all things and yet made yourself poor for men, ; we mourn over our trust in money rather than in your loving protection : over our too eager desire to get it : our discontent without it.
Men keep it as if you had not made them stewards : seek it as if it would never perish.
We have not given it freely even for the preaching of your Gospel.
We have spent lavishly on our own desires and grudged your Church a little.

6.8  O God, who is light and truth, and in whom is no darkness, we mourn over our love of that which is not true : that we have too often prejudiced or perverted the truth : if we have hurt the good name of others : if we have sometimes supported an evil cause or have withstood and crushed a good cause,

6.9 We have called evil good, and good evil : sometimes praised, rewarded wickedness, excused or extenuated sin, censured righteousness.
We have been silent when we should have defended the right or withstood the wrong : or when we spoke, we spoke unreasonably, maliciously, or with a wrong intention.

6.10  .0 God, have mercy upon us if at any moment we have been guilty of slandering a brother : back-biting, diminishing others : tale-bearing, scoffing, reviling : misconstruing his words, actions, intentions : flattering him.

6.11   Have mercy upon us if we have at any time spread a false report : endeavoured or desired to impair the credit of others : rejoiced in their disgrace, loss, failure : suspected evil of those who were good : spoken against or felt contempt for any of your children : neglected to speak well of those who were wrongly reviled, or to hide the shame of a brother, or to defend the innocent.

We mourn that we are so ready to believe evil of men, so slow to believe good.
We mourn that it is hard to aim for and practise those things that are noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy

6.12  Have mercy upon us, for we are often discontented with our condition, with your dealings, discipline, corrections : envying and grieving at the good of others : vexed that others are better than we are, that they are placed in more favourable circumstances, born with fewer temptations in body and soul : uncharitable and unkindly in thought towards others : unwilling to further another's cause.

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