NOTE: The following is taken from Luther’s Small Catechism.
The penitent approaches the minister 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 sin.
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 words:
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 cross 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 Spirit.
The Pastor will know additional passages with which to comfort and strengthen the faith of those who have great burdens of conscience.
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.