Whether we are seeking forgiveness for our own sins or asking God to help us forgive others, prayer is the first place to start when seeking restoration and healing. The below prayers can help guide your thoughts and words as you seek being forgiven or help in forgiving others. It is a big step to seek out forgiveness and you have taken a bold step in faith!
Before we jump into specific prayers for forgiveness, you may want to take some time to consider what God commands of us concerning forgiveness and why it’s so critical to be able to forgive. Visit our article: What Does the Bible Say About Forgiveness?
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Posted by William Martin
When we want to pray for forgiveness it usefully means that we feel that we have done something wrong and we are asking God (or a higher power of some kind) to forgive us for what we did. If we feel guilty or ashamed for something we have done it is obviously good to do something about that and not just stay stuck in feeling bad.
Prayer is obviously a form of asking. What better way to “ask” for forgiveness than to offer it to others? We can use The Four Steps to Forgiveness to forgive others and that in effect is a form of prayer, and invocation, a request, to have more forgiveness in our lives – in other words to have forgiveness for ourselves too.
When we feel we need to be forgiven we feel pain. The pain usually takes the form of feeling guilty (guilt is a feeling of, “I did something bad”) and/or feeling shame (shame is a feeling of, “I am bad”). Guilt is usually about how we feel about what we did; shame is usually about how we feel about ourselves. They often go together, but there are very different feelings. With guilt we are down on what we did; with shame we are down on ourselves.
Rather than being caught in our own pain we can break out of it be asking ourselves, “Who do I need to forgive?”. Then start using The Four Steps to Forgiveness to do exactly that. This may not look like a prayer for Forgiveness, but is certainly is as we will receive as we give. Can we really expect to be forgiven when we are still holding on to old grudges and resentments from who knows how long ago? A farmer does not just pray for healthy crops he/she does the work to clear the ground and plant the seeds too. Working on forgiving others (and it is work) gets things ready. It also helps us feel a whole lot better about ourselves.
Through using the The Four Steps to Forgiveness we also discover how to forgive ourselves. Do we need to forgive ourselves? Of course we do. If we judge our behaviour as “bad” or “wrong” then we need to forgive ourselves.
Forgiving ourselves is vitally important. Usually when we make a mistake and hurt another it because if we became too self-centred and got too caught up in our own feelings to be aware of the harm that we were doing. If we realise we made a mistake, and then fill our mind with self-judgment or self-condemnation this is just another way of being too caught up in our own feelings. This makes it more likely that we will do the same, or similar, things again.
We need to break the habit of being too self-absorbed. One way to do that, ironically, is by forgiving ourselves. It may seem like self forgiveness could be a self-centred thing to do. However, when we use The Four Steps to Forgiveness for this we discover that self forgiveness is a very unselfish thing to do. Everyone around us benefits as we learn to forgive ourselves. For one thing we become a much kinder person and much easier to be around. Does that benefit those close to us? Of course, it does.
Remorse and Making Amends
Remorse is good if it leads us to make amends for what a wrong we did. However, if we are simply stuck in feeling bad and berating ourselves in useless ways this does not benefit anyone. Some people feel that they need to punish themselves as a way of expressing remorse. However, this usually hurts the people around them (who also have to suffer the guilty person’s painful feelings in some way either by their withdrawal, or their acting out their distress) and does no good at all to the person they have harmed.
It is better to make amends, if that is possible and reasonable, in direct ways. Otherwise it is better to make amends by doing specific acts to help others, preferably anonymously. However, to paraphrase an old saying: The best remorse is a life well lived. Sometimes the only remedy available to us is to lead a good and decent as best we can from now on. For some things there is no way to make amends and if we are genuinely sorry then we need to make leading a good life as our number one priority.
As we learn to forgive others and learn to forgive ourselves we reach a deeper understanding of forgiveness than we had before. We may still want to say specific forms of prayer for forgiveness and that is well and good. However, our prayers will be much more effective and much more powerful if we have prepared the ground. Forgiving others and forgiving ourselves, by using The Four Steps to Forgiveness, clears they way for us to be able to receive God’s blessing by removing the spiritual clutter of unforgiveness that has been getting in the way.
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William Fergus Martin
Prayer of Forgiveness: A Valuable Gift
A prayer of forgiveness is something we all seek at some point in life. Forgiveness is a valuable gift that is neither easily obtained, nor easily given. Forgiveness is essential for life; it frees us from past wrongs and gives us hope for the future. It is for forgiveness sake that Jesus Christ came to earth to die for mankind.
Prayer of Forgiveness: Made Possible by Jesus Christ
The prayer of forgiveness is a prayer that is offered up to God. Though we may directly hurt each other, all of our trespasses ultimately hurt God. You may wonder how this is possible. How can our shortcomings hurt the omnipotent Creator of the universe? Does God even care? In Genesis 6, we find that God Himself actually grieved over all the wrongs that man had inflicted upon each other: “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart” (Genesis 6:5-6).
All knowing, God grieves even at the mere thought of evil. Thus, ultimate forgiveness must also come from God. However, because of His justice, forgiveness cannot be freely given. Every wrong must be accounted for in order for God to be a just judge. Jesus Christ died on the cross at Calvary in our place so that our sins may be forgiven. His suffering paid for our transgressions. “For this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28).
In His love, God knew that our conscience needed to be freed from guilt and condemnation. He knew that forgiveness of sins was our greatest need. In the ultimate act of love, God not only suffered the pain of our wrongs, but also paid for their consequences in order that we may have forgiveness offered to us when we sin. All we need to do is to accept His free gift of forgiveness.
Prayer of Forgiveness: Ask God for Forgiveness
Perhaps you have stumbled upon this web page looking for a prayer of forgiveness to soothe a tormented soul. Or maybe you are struggling with trying to forgive another for deeply hurting you. For all who accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, forgiveness has been freely given. If we acknowledge our wrongs and ask for forgiveness, God will forgive us – no questions asked: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
If we reject Jesus, in essence, we reject God’s gift of forgiveness. We are in fact saying that we do not wish to be reconciled with God (1 John 1:10). Though it is our free choice to not accept forgiveness from God, we will ultimately be accountable for all the sins we have committed at the end of this life. It is God’s deep desire to be reconciled with you. “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). If you desire to be truly forgiven, consider what Jesus said and sincerely accept Him as your Lord and Savior. You will be forgiven and God will begin a transforming work in your life.
Prayer of Forgiveness: Receive a New Life
The prayer of forgiveness gives us a new hope and a new beginning. All our sins are wiped away by God. “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12).
If you understand that you are a sinner, and you believe that Jesus Christ came as the one and only Redeemer of sin, then you understand the prayer of forgiveness. The question is – are you ready to implement the prayer, by receiving God’s gift of His Son, Jesus Christ? If so, believe in Christ, repent of your sins, and commit the rest of your life to Him as Lord:
“Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
If you decided to receive Jesus today, welcome to God’s family. Now, as a way to grow closer to Him, the Bible tells us to follow up on our commitment.
- Get baptized as commanded by Christ.
- Tell someone else about your new faith in Christ.
- Spend time with God each day. It does not have to be a long period of time. Just develop the daily habit of praying to Him and reading His Word. Ask God to increase your faith and your understanding of the Bible.
- Seek fellowship with other followers of Jesus. Develop a group of believing friends to answer your questions and support you.
- Find a local gathering where you can worship God.
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– We have all
and deserve God’s judgment.
, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him.
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for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was
rose from the dead
according to the
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, declaring, “
Jesus is Lord
,” you will be saved from
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