Confessing our transgressions of the Ten Commandments

For the past ten weeks, we have been referencing the Ten Commandments (found in Deuteronomy 6) for our corporate confession of sin. Here are the prayers we’ve been using:

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6 “‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 7 You shall have no other gods before me.

Our God of truth and mercy, we admit our rebellion against the first commandment of the law: “You must have no other gods before me.” Forgive us for dividing our supreme loyalties among other gods and worshiping the idol of self. Forgive us of willfully being mastered by the desires of others and of ourselves before even considering your revealed will to us in Scripture. Have mercy on us, O God, for trusting in the power of creatures over your unmatched sovereignty and sure promises. We have found our deepest rest in the comforts of this world before seeking you out in prayer, before reminding ourselves of your mercy, and before nourishing ourselves in worship and Christian fellowship. Our faith has often been misplaced. In the name of Jesus, who is God with us, forgive our trespasses and renovate our souls, for your own Glory and the good of your people.

8 “‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 9 You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 10 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

We humbly admit before you, O God, that we have failed to keep the second commandment, “You shall not make for yourself an idol. You shall not bow down to them or serve them.” Our Lord we have transgressed your law by creating imaginary gods after our own likeness, and by living lives in service to them. We have created gods out of possessions, wealth, the outdoors, hobbies, passions & talents, family members, friends, preferences, longings and goals, and all kinds of other things. We have treated these good things as ultimate; instead of using them to bring you glory. We have placed these lifeless idols above the true and living God. Our lives have taken their shape out of reverence for these false gods. We have not heeded your warning which says, “Those who make lifeless idols become like them; so do all who trust in them.” By the power of our King Jesus, release us from the bondage that we have created to these idols. Forgive us for our waywardness and cause us to walk in uprightness before you, O God.  

11 “‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

Our Holy Father, we have broken your third commandment which says, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” We have not held your name, titles, attributes, words, sacraments, prayers and actions in a high and reverent manner as we should. We have abused your name by using it in careless, ignorant, superstitious, ambiguous, and wicked ways. By neglecting and misinterpreting your words to us in Scripture, we have attributed to your name those desires which are sinful and should only be ascribed to our twisted hearts. We have opposed your truth by engaging in religious hypocrisy, by professing true religion but practicing a lie. We pray that you would forgive us, by the blood of Christ, for our sins, allowing us to escape the curse of this commandment. O Lord, cause our hearts to treasure, above all others, your most wonderful name.  

12 “‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

“Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” We have allowed this generous commandment to become a burden to ourselves. We have vainly searched for spiritual rest in worldly ordinances rather than in the Lord’s Day. We have failed to guard our observance of the Lord’s Day by neglecting the duties of our work week. We have filled our Sabbaths with ordinary work, inordinate leisure, and sinful behaviors, when we should be tasting heaven by participating in worship services, enjoying Christian fellowship, and engaging in acts of mercy. Forgive us for our failure to keep this commandment, O God. Help us to restructure our schedules and reorient our hearts, so that the rhythm of our lives synchronize with your prescribed rhythm: “Six days you shall labor and do all your work. but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.” We once were slaves to our sin, but you have set us free in Christ Jesus, “Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.” 

16 “‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

Our Heavenly Father, we have not honored our fathers and mothers, so that our days may be long, and that it may go well in the land that the Lord our God is giving us. We have failed to give proper respect to those in authority over us: our parents, our superiors, our elders, our civil authorities, and our church authorities. We have not obeyed and carried out our duties as we should. We have agreed to obey but failed to follow through on our promises. We have envied the authority of our superiors, failing to be content with the lot that God has given us. We have mocked and shamed those in authority over us, when we should have received them as a blessing from you, O God. Our rebellion against these authorities is ultimately rebellion against you, and for that we are deeply sorry. Forgive us, our Heavenly Father, and cause us to walk in humble obedience.  

17 “‘You shall not murder.

“You shall not murder” is one command we boastfully believe to have kept in full. Oh, how we have deceived ourselves, but we have not deceived you, O God. You know how we have murdered our neighbors in our secret thoughts. You know our hatred, our explosive anger, our brooding malice, and our irritability. God, you see our true desires and our genuine beliefs. We admit that we have not cherished and protected human life in the way the sixth commandment demands. We have not fully valued the lives of those who look, think, and act differently than us. We have dared to look at our image-bearing neighbors with indifference, for we have neglected to preach the gospel to them. We have not applied the gospel to our fellow Christians through biblical fellowship and counsel. O God, what wretched sinners we are! Deliver us through the righteous blood of Jesus. Enable us, through your Holy Spirit, to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.   

18 “‘And you shall not commit adultery.

The seventh commandment, “you shall not commit adultery,” forbids not only unfaithfulness, but also impure imagination, abuse of what you’ve created good, wrongful divorce or desertion, looking at images and people we shouldn’t, and other unnatural and unchaste behaviors. Lord we have, in some measure, carried out these forbidden behaviors, or we have given approval to those that do. We have treated those created in your Image as only instruments of our fleeting pleasures. For this, our Holy God, we pray for your gracious pardon. The seventh commandment requires that we love our neighbors, our family members, and our fellow Christians with thoughts, actions, and affections that are suitable for each of these varying relationships. Forgive us for our failure to love in the pure and beautiful way that you command and model for us. Cleanse and strengthen our every relationship with the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

19 “‘And you shall not steal.

Truth, faithfulness and justice are the virtues required by the eighth commandment: “you shall not steal.” This commandment reveals to us your heart, O God. You are always true and always faithful to your word. You, as the perfectly righteous judge, always act in wisdom. As the King of creation, you never steal, engage in bribery, or deal fraudulently. But Lord, we confess that we have broken the eighth commandment, by wrongfully taking what is not ours, by stealing time with our slothful behavior, by desiring to steal through envying the prosperity of others, by being careless or stingy with our own and with other people’s resources, and by failing to keep our commitments. Lord we pray that the abundant grace of Christ would cover these sins and empower us to walk in truth, faithfulness, and justice.

20 “‘And you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Your law commands us: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” O God, you say of our tongues, “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.” The ninth commandment forbids the use of our speech as a weapon against our neighbors. We are called to carefully and truthfully defend and preserve the reputations of our friends, our families, our fellow Christians, and even of our enemies. We admit that we have a fascination with rumors, to hear and to spread them. We sorrowfully acknowledge that our love for appearing right has come at the expense of the truth and of the reputation of our fellow image-bearers. Lord, may we love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Forgive us for our sins and consider us as righteous in your sight, only for the sake of our righteous Savior, Jesus Christ.

21 “‘And you shall not covet your neighbor's wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor's house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.’

Your Word tells us to refrain from coveting what does not belong to us. The apostle Paul says that coveting is a form of idolatry, which is to elevate created things over the Creator. Our first parents coveted the forbidden fruit and they coveted the exalted wisdom and stature of God. We are just like our first parents. We are prone to be dissatisfied with our possessions, with our spouses, with our coworkers, with our friends, with our bodies and with our allotted situations in life. So we envy the situations of others, and we grumble at the good that they enjoy. Lord, we lack contentment! We need your grace, in order that we might turn away from the idolatry of our covetous hearts. Renew us by the power of your gracious Spirit and conform us to the righteous image of Christ. All to the praise of your glorious grace!