The Litany of Penance may be familiar if you attend services in an Episcopal or Anglican church. A shorter version of it is often included in the Night office of the Divine Hours.
When we run out of our own words or don’t know where to start in prayer, a simple prayer of confession can offer a good place to begin, claiming God’s mercy and trusting in the renewing power of God’s love for you.
The full litany follows:
Litany of Penitence
Most holy and merciful Father: I confess to you and to the whole communion of saints in heaven and on earth, that I have sinned by my own fault in thought, word, and deed; by what I have done, and by what I have left undone. I have not loved you with my whole heart, and mind, and strength. I have not loved my neighbors as myself. I have not forgiven others, as I have been forgiven. Have mercy on me, Lord.
I have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us. I have not been true to the mind of Christ. I have grieved your Holy Spirit. Have mercy on me, Lord.
I confess to you, Lord, all my past unfaithfulness: the pride, hypocrisy, and impatience of my life. I confess to you, Lord.
My self-indulgent appetites and ways, and my exploitation of other people, I confess to you, Lord.
My anger at my own frustration, and my envy of those more fortunate than I, I confess to you, Lord.
My intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and my dishonesty in daily life and work, I confess to you, Lord.
My negligence in prayer and worship, and my failure to commend the faith that is in me, I confess to you, Lord.
Accept my repentance, Lord, for the wrongs I have done: for my blindness to human need and suffering, and my indifference to injustice and cruelty, Accept my repentance, Lord.
For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward my neighbors, and for my prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from me, Accept my repentance, Lord.
For my waste and pollution of your creation, and my lack of concern for those who come after us, Accept my repentance, Lord.
Restore me, good Lord, and let your anger depart from me, Favorably hear me for your mercy is great. Accomplish in me and all of your church the work of your salvation, That I may show forth your glory in the world. By the cross and passion of your Son our Lord, Bring me with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection.