Forms of Penitence


1The following four Forms of Penitence may be used with Prayer During the Day, Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer. They are most suitable on days when the Eucharist, the Thanksgiving for the Word or Night Prayer are not being celebrated. The third form may not be used at the Principal Service on a Sunday, Principal Feast or other Principal Holy Day.

2In Prayer During the Day any one of the forms may be used after the opening responses or as part of the response to God’s word.

3In Morning or Evening Prayer any one of the four forms may be used to replace the set Preparation, in which case it is followed by the Psalmody. Alternatively, one of the forms may be used within the Preparation, in which case it follows the opening Prayer of Thanksgiving, hymn or opening canticle.

4Some other confessions and absolutions are provided. These may be used in place of those in the four forms that follow. An additional confession and absolution can be found in the Thanksgiving for the Word (here) and another confession in Night Prayer (here). Further confessions and absolutions may be found in Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England (pages 122-137 and 276-279). Sections from the Litany (here) are also suitable for penitence.

Form 1

Seek the Lord while he may be found,

All   call upon him while he is near.

Let the wicked abandon their ways

All   and the unrighteous their thoughts.

Turn back to the Lord, who will have mercy;

All   to our God who will richly pardon.

cf Isaiah 55

A time of silence and self-examination may be kept.

All   Lord God,

we have sinned against you;

we have done evil in your sight.

We are sorry and repent.

Have mercy on us according to your love.

Wash away our wrongdoing and cleanse us from our sin.

Renew a right spirit within us

and restore us to the joy of your salvation,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

cf Psalm 51


May the Father of all mercies

cleanse us from our sins,

and restore us in his image

to the praise and glory of his name,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

All   Amen.

Blessed be the Lord,

All   who has heard the voice of our prayer.

Therefore shall our hearts dance for joy

All   and in our song will we praise our God.

Psalm 28.7,9

Form 2

A candle may be lit and silence may be kept.

Come, Holy Spirit of God,

All   and search our hearts with the light of Christ.

Our Lord Jesus Christ said:

The first commandment is this:

‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,

with all your soul, with all your mind,

and with all your strength.’

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’

There is no other commandment greater than these.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

All   Amen. Lord, have mercy.

After a period of reflection

Come, let us return to the Lord and say:

All   Lord our God,

in our sin we have avoided your call.

Our love for you is like a morning cloud,

like the dew that goes away early.

Have mercy on us;

deliver us from judgement;

bind up our wounds and revive us;

in Jesus Christ our Lord.

cf Hosea 6


May almighty God,

who sent his Son into the world to save sinners,

bring us his pardon and peace, now and for ever.

All   Amen.

Form 3

The Lord is full of compassion and mercy,

All   slow to anger and of great kindness.

He has not dealt with us according to our sins,

All   nor rewarded us according to our wickedness.

For as the heavens are high above the earth,

All   so great is his mercy upon those who fear him.

Silence is kept for reflection.

All   Holy God,

holy and strong,

holy and immortal,

have mercy upon us.

As far as the east is from the west,

All   so far has he set our sins from us.

As a father has compassion on his children,

All   so is the Lord merciful towards those who fear him.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

All   and all that is within me bless his holy name.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

All   and forget not all his benefits.

cf Psalm 103

Form 4

When we cry out to the Lord in our trouble,

All   he will deliver us from our distress.

God will bring us out of darkness

All   and out of the shadow of death.

Short penitential sentences may be inserted between the petitions of the Kyrie.

Lord, have mercy.

All   Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

All   Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

All   Lord, have mercy.

May the Father forgive us

by the death of his Son

and strengthen us

to live in the power of the Spirit

all our days.

All   Amen.

Let us give thanks to the Lord for his goodness,

All   and the wonders he does for his children.

Let us offer him sacrifices of thanksgiving

All   and tell of his acts with shouts of joy.

cf Psalm 107

Other Penitential Material

All   Most merciful God,

Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

we confess that we have sinned

in thought, word and deed.

We have not loved you with our whole heart.

We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.

In your mercy

forgive what we have been,

help us to amend what we are,

and direct what we shall be;

that we may do justly,

love mercy,

and walk humbly with you, our God.


All   Almighty and most merciful Father,

we have wandered 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 that we ought to have done;

and we have done those things that we ought not to have done;

and there is no health in us.

But you, O Lord, have mercy upon us sinners.

Spare those who confess their faults.

Restore those who are penitent,

according to your promises declared to mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake,

that we may live a disciplined, righteous and godly life,

to the glory of your holy name.


All  Almighty God,

long-suffering and of great goodness:

I confess to you,

I confess with my whole heart

my neglect and forgetfulness of your commandments,

my wrong doing, thinking, and speaking;

the hurts I have done to others,

and the good I have left undone.

O God, forgive me, for I have sinned against you;

and raise me to newness of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.



May the God of love and power

forgive you and free you from your sins,

heal and strengthen you by his Spirit,

and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord.

All   Amen.

May almighty God have mercy on us,

forgive us our sins,

and bring us to everlasting life,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

All   Amen.


Common Worship: Daily Prayer, material from which is included here,
is copyright © The Archbishops' Council 2005 and published by Church House Publishing.

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