"A Godly Righteous And Sober Life"
Context: The Order for Daily Morning Prayer, the first service in the Book of Common Prayer, is a direct descendent of Matins, one of the services in the medieval system of daily devotions known as the Canonical Hours or Daily Offices. These Offices were in turn developed out of customs of regular instruction, prayer, and praise in practice in the early Church and beyond these from the devotional practices of pious Jews at the time of the birth of Christ. Morning Prayer begins in a penitential mood. After a series of opening sentences of Biblical origin which set the theme of the service to come, the faithful are reminded, in the Exhortation, that no converse with God can be fitting or profitable until the worshiper has laid bare his disobediences to God's will and has sought reconciliation with His love. The minister beseeches the congregation to go with him to the very "throne of the heavenly grace" and there humbly to confess their sins in the words of the General Confession–called "general" because it is said by the minister and all the people together, and refers not only to individual shortcomings but to the guilt of the whole community of believers. Based in general on St. Paul's analysis of sin in Romans 7:8–25, the prayer asserts that the essence of sin is self-assertion and asks that the penitent sinner be restored to the spiritual health which he has forfeited by his offenses against God's holy laws.
Almighty and most merciful Father; we have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou those who are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.