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NOTE: The following is taken from Luther's Small Catechism.
What is confession?
Confession has two parts. The one is that we confess our sins;
the other, that we receive Absolution from the minister as from
God Himself, not doubing but firmly believing that our sins
are thus forgiven before God in heaven.
What sins should we confess?
Before God we should plead guilty of all sins, even those we
are not aware of, as we do in the Lord's Prayer. But before
the minister we should confess only those sins which we know
and feel in our hearts.
How can we recognize these sins?
Consider your place in life according to the Ten Commandments.
Are you a father, mother, son, daughter, employer, or employee?
Have you been disobedient, unfaithful, or lazy? Have you hurt
anyone by word or deed? Have you been dishonest, careless, wasteful,
or done other wrong?
How will the minister assure a penitent sinner of forgiveness?
He will say, "By the authority of Christ, I forgive you
all your sins in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of
the Holy Spirit. Amen."
AN ORDER FOR HOLY ABSOLUTION
confession made by the penitent is protected from disclosure.
The minsiter is all times obligate to respect the confidential
nature of a confession, for it is made not to him, but to
The penitent approaches the minsiter and kneels in the place
designated for private confession and absolution.
Penitent: O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth
your praise. You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would
give it. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken
and contrite heart- these, O God, You will not despise.
Dear Pastor, I ask you please to hear my confession and to
pronounce forgiveness to me in order to fulfill God's will.
Pastor: Speak on.
Penitent: I have lived as if God did not matter and as if
I mattered the most. My Lord's Name I have not honored as
I should; my worship and prayers have faltered. I have not
let His love have its way with me, and so my love for others
has failed. My thoughts and desires have been soiled with
What troubles me particularly is that...
Here the penitent confesses those sins, which disturb
or grieve him.
The penitent concludes the confession of sins with the following
Dear Pastor, forgive me all my sins for the sake of my dear
Lord Jesus Christ, who died for me and shed His blood for
me on the corss for the forgiveness of sins.
The Pastor stands before the penitent.
Pastor: God be gracious to you and strengthen your faith in
His word of Absolution.
Pastor: Do you believe that my forgiveness is God's forgiveness?
Penitent: Yes, I do.
The Pastor lays his hand on the head of the penitent and
makes the sign of the holy cross upon the penitent's head.
Pastor: (Brother or Sister in Christ), in the stead and by
the command of my Lord Jesus Christ I forgive you all your
sins in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy
The Pastor will know additional passages with which to comfort
and strengthen the faith of those who have great burdens of
Pastor: The God of peace will sanctify you wholly and keep
your spirit, soul, and body blameless at the coming of our
Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, and he will
do it. Go in peace.