Whether the confession of sin is to take place at the beginning or later in the service, it should be preceded by a brief time of preparation. This may involve the recital of biblical texts, a brief exhortation, or a song pointing to the need for confession and highlighting God’s provision for our forgiveness. Attention can be drawn to particular words in the confession about to be used, so that all may reflect on the significance of what they will say together. If the beginning of a service has been characterised by praise, an appropriate bridge to confession should be provided. Alternatively, a call to confess sins may be directly linked with the general introductions in section 1 and provide a penitential opening to the service, as in the traditional Prayer Book exhortation (4.1). Whatever the pattern, appropriate sentences or brief exhortations should highlight the need to confess our sin and be assured of God’s forgiveness, as we approach him together. There should be a pause for reflection between the invitation and the confession. Biblical texts can be used before or after the exhortations. If there is need to respond to a sermon with penitence, the confessions and assurances in sections 5 and 6 can be used at that point in the service.

4.1 Dear friends, the Scriptures urge us to acknowledge our sins,
and not to conceal them in the presence of God our heavenly Father,
but to confess them with a penitent and obedient heart,
so that we may be forgiven through his boundless goodness and mercy.
We ought always humbly to admit our sins before God,
but chiefly when we meet together
to give thanks for the benefits we have received at his hands,
to offer the praise that is due to him,
to hear his holy word,
and to ask what is necessary for the body as well as the soul.
Therefore, let us draw near to the throne of our gracious God,
and pray together.
An Australian Prayer Book

We are the people of God,
but Scripture reminds us that we still sin.
We need to confess our failures,
knowing that the Lord Jesus intercedes for us with the Father,
who freely forgives us, through his infinite goodness and mercy.
So let us draw near to God with sincerity and confidence, and pray together.

Sunday Services


The gospel calls us to turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ.
As we offer ourselves to him in penitence and faith,
we renew our confidence and trust in his mercy.

New Patterns for Worship


When the Lord comes,
He will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness,
and will disclose the purposes of the heart.
Therefore, in the light of Christ let us confess our sins.

New Patterns for Worship


Compassion and forgiveness belong to the Lord our God,
though we have rebelled against him.
Let us then renounce our wilfulness and seek his mercy
by confessing our sins in penitence and faith.

New Patterns for Worship


Christ himself bore our sins in his body on the cross,
so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness;
by his wounds we have been healed.
So let us acknowledge our failure and disobedience,
and return to the Lord with penitence and faith.

Cf. 1 Peter 2:24-25


God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in the darkness,
we lie and do not practise the truth.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
So let us confess our sins to God,
knowing that he is faithful and just,
to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Cf. 1 John 1:5-6, 9 ESV

4.8 Biblical texts which may be used to move us to repentance include the following:.

Psalm 32 1 Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2 Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.

Psalm 51 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Psalm 143 2 Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.

Isaiah 1 18 "Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

Isaiah 55 6 Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. 8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.

Ezekiel 18 27 But if a wicked man turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he will save his life.

Ezekiel 18 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!

Daniel 9 9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.

Joel 2 13 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

Matthew 2237 Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Mark 1 15 "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"

Luke 15 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'

Acts 3 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

Acts 17 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."

Titus 2 13 while we wait for the blessed hope-- the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

1 John 3 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.