In a day when too many avoid personal responsibility for their actions and blame external factors, other people, and institutional systems for their wrongs, prayers like the one below remind us that each of us is a sinner. If I do something wrong—something sinful—I am to blame. I am culpable.
Too often we behave like Adam and Eve in the garden, passing the blame for our misdeeds onto someone or something else.
Tomorrow is Good Friday, reminding us that Jesus was crucified for our iniquities. He bore the consequences for all of us.
So may we each, seeing him suffering and dying on the cross, have our eyes opened to our need for forgiveness—not only because we have wronged one another but God himself. And may our hearts be kindled by the realization that he took the penalty owed to us, freeing us from condemnation and for life everlasting.
Here’s a prayer that reflects this reality:
“Almighty and most merciful Father, we have erred and strayed from your ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against your holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done, and we have done those things which we ought not to have done; and apart from your grace, there is no health in us. O Lord, have mercy upon us. Spare all those who confess their faults. Restore all those who are penitent, according to your promises declared to all people in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake, that we may now live a godly, righteous, and sober life, to the glory of your holy Name. Amen.”