21st Century Africana Worship Resources for The First Sunday in Lent, Year B

Litany of Confession
(Psalm 25:1-10) Leader: On this first Sunday in Lent, a time of repentance, we acknowledge our shortcomings to God.

People: To you, O LORD, we lift up our souls.

Leader: O God, in you do we trust; do not let us be put to shame. We have shame, dear God. We have been made to feel ashamed of slavery. We have been segregated and oppressed. Our guilt, however, is in how we have excluded and mistreated others. We are ashamed of our own sin.

People: To you, O LORD, we lift up our souls.

Leader: Make us to know your ways, O LORD; teach us your paths. We have often taken the path of least resistance, following the way of oppression and material gain rather than the way to freedom and light.

People: To you, O LORD, we lift up our souls.

Leader: Be mindful of your mercy, O LORD, and of your steadfast love for they have been of old. We have not remembered that you have always loved us. And we have sometimes hated ourselves. But we can only love our neighbors to the same degree that we love ourselves.

People: To you, O LORD, we lift up our souls.

Leader: Do not remember the sins of youth or our transgressions, even though we remain babes in faith; even though we hesitate to grow in grace; even though we have not expanded our gifts and abilities. Forgive us that we refuse to move forward in education, in civil rights, and in achieving justice and equity for all people.

People: To you, O LORD, we lift up our souls.

Leader: Good and upright are you, LORD. Only you are good. You desire good things for all of your children. We have forgotten how our ancestors wanted each one to have his or her own vine and fig tree. We have forgotten that you have blessed us to be a blessing.

People: To you, O LORD, we lift up our souls.

Leader: All your paths, LORD, are steadfast love and faithfulness. We claim to follow your paths, but we have a tendency to be triflin', to wander, to forget. Humble us, Lord; teach us your way.

People: To you, O LORD, we lift up our souls.

Prayer of Confession
Dear Forgiving, Merciful God,

We do humbly beseech you to look upon our bowed heads, look upon our bent knees, and shine your countenance from your throne of grace. We come before you with nothing to offer, like empty pitchers in front of a full fountain.1

Forgive us for every wrong thought, every wrong word, and every wrong deed.

Fill us with your grace and with a desire to do justice. Fill us with the knowledge of your truth and light. By the Power of your Holy Spirit, fill us with the will to be ministers of reconciliation, that we are made right within our souls, right among one another, and right with you. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Prayer of Pardon
Thank you for Jesus Christ who suffered for sins once for all in order to bring us to you, O God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the Spirit so that we might be saved. We accept this gift of salvation, and we believe the good news.

In Jesus' Name, Amen.

For additional resources for the First Sunday of Lent, see Worship Planning Helps, Preaching Helps, and Lectionary Hymns. See also Lent and Easter Resources on the Discipleship Ministries website at and "Evangelistic Preaching Helps: Preparing for the Lenten Season."


About the Author: Marilyn E. Thornton is the Development Editor of African American Resources at The United Methodist Publishing House and the Director of Christian Education at South End UMC in Nashville, Tennessee.

Categories: Worship, Worship Planning, Lectionary Planning Archive, Services and Liturgies, 21st Century Africana, 21st Century Liturgy, Liturgy and Worship