Gather: Truth-telling

This month, we’re encouraging the practice of confession (or truth-telling). This is a time of being honest with God, with others, and with ourselves. And, if we’re being totally honest, it’s one of the more uncomfortable habits we’ve practiced so far. While you don’t need to feel obligated to participate in this practice, we’d encourage finding a safe group of people who you can be vulnerable and honest with– these are the kinds of friends who are helpful for more than just today. They need to be willing to hold everything in confidence and NOT share what is shared during this practice. 



Gather in a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted, like a dorm or prayer room, and sit in a circle. Put on some relaxing instrumental music.



Appoint a leader to talk through the steps of this practice, as he or she also participates.



Leader: Today, we’re going to practice a prayer form called “I thank you, and I’m sorry.” It’s a personal prayer, but done in a group setting. It’s a time for us to lift up our hearts to God– to find reasons to praise him, yet also to repent for the ways we’ve all fallen short. This can be as specific– or not– as you are comfortable with. While it feels extra vulnerable, this group practice can help to remind us that we aren’t alone with our sins. We aren’t alone in our struggles. Despite all the pretenses we like to put on for the world, and even ourselves, we’re all in need of his love and grace.

To begin, let’s read Psalm 51 together:


Have mercy on me, O God,

    according to your unfailing love;

according to your great compassion

    blot out my transgressions.

Wash away all my iniquity

    and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,

    and my sin is always before me.


Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;

    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness;

    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins

    and blot out all my iniquity.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,

    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me from your presence

    or take your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation

    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Pause for 2 minutes of quiet reflection.

Leader: We’ll now take turns praying. Each of us can offer God an “I thank you for…” and an “I’m sorry for…” This doesn’t need to be done in any particular order, but people can pray (or not) as they feel comfortable. Feel free to leave space between each person or prayer. This silence isn’t uncomfortable, but leaving space for the Holy Spirit to intercede on our behalf for those things said and those left unsaid. 

Go around the circle, allowing everyone the opportunity to pray.




A Prayer After Confession

Merciful Father, who is generous with unmerited favor and steadfast in love, thank you for your forgiveness. Thank you for turning me toward you with your soft hand of kindness, and for covering not only my sin but also the sins of the whole world. Finish this work you’ve begun in me by removing my shame and fear. And when I make my next mistake, lead me back to joy-filled confession that brings healing. Amen.