This is a corporate prayer of confession, using Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32 as a loose framework. The Scripture texts are from The Message paraphrase. Explain to the congregation which Scripture passage the prayer is based on and that their response to 'Lord have mercy' is to repeat 'Lord have mercy'. Ensure that you leave enough time and space for the congregation to reflect on their personal response and confession.

Extract from the prayer:

Ezekiel 18:1-4 says:
God's Message to me: "What do you people mean by going around the country repeating the saying, the parents ate green apples, the children got the stomachache? As sure as I'm the living God, you're not going to repeat this saying in Israel any longer. Every soul—man, woman, child—belongs to me, parent and child alike. You die for your own sin, not another's."

Let's pray:
Merciful Father God, we are often guilty of blaming others for our own shortcomings. We might say "He made me do it", or "I'm only a product of my surroundings", or "I'm only responding to her bad behaviour".
We acknowledge that we have all sinned, and we take responsibility for our own sin. We are sorry and repent. Lord, have mercy.

ALL: Lord, have mercy.

Ezekiel 18:25-28 says:
"Do I hear you saying, 'That's not fair! God's not fair!'?
"Listen, Israel. I'm not fair? You're the ones who aren't fair! If a good person turns away from his good life and takes up sinning, he'll die for it. He'll die for his own sin. Likewise, if a bad person turns away from his bad life and starts living a good life, a fair life, he will save his life. Because he faces up to all the wrongs he's committed and puts them behind him, he will live, really live. He won't die.

Let's pray:
Gracious Father God, we are sorry for the times when we have turned from goodness and taken up sinning. We see that sin only lead to death and destruction, and we turn from our sins. We face up to the wrongs we have committed and put them behind us, in order to receive your real life. Lord, have mercy.

ALL: Lord, have mercy...

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