Have you succumbed to harmful habits that are hurting your faith and testimony? We’ve all been there at one time or another. If guilt and shame now dot your life, and regrets are filling in the blanks of your story, take heart. God offers love, forgiveness, and restoration. If this fits you, here is a prayer for repentance and restoration that can help you find renewed joy, hope, and life:
A Prayer for Repentance and Restoration
Lord Jesus, I’m tired of the sin struggle in my life. I feel distant from You. My choices have not led me into the right places. I’ve listened to the whispers of my enemy instead of Your words in Scripture, and the result has been disastrous.
I once walked with you, my heart tender to Your leading. Yet little by little, I exchanged Your truths for temptations and deceit that led me away from You. Instead of taking thoughts captive and confessing them immediately, I allowed them to grow totally out of control. Repentance was not in my vocabulary. Blame, cover-ups, or trying to reason and rationalize sin never work. They only give birth to deeper sin entanglements.
You created me in Your own image, Lord. You know my thoughts before I speak them. You x-ray my heart and see through my excuses and intentions. Your Spirit warned me, but I ignored You. Disappointment and discouragement have taken their toll on me.
So today I’m confessing my desperate need for You. You have promised that if we will confess our sin, You will forgive us and make us clean again. Lord, I truly need Your forgiveness. Repentance is on my heart and lips. I want to turn around and head another direction—back to You, Lord. But I need Your help.
Just as You created the world out of nothing, Lord, create a clean heart out of my “nothingness.” You paid for my sin with your own death. Restore my life and the fellowship we once shared together. You don’t condemn me, and You won’t disown me; I am Your child forever. But I take all the blame—I own my own sin. I am the one who broke fellowship with You and am crushed over the way I treated You and Your name.
Lord, root out the darkness and light up my life with Your holy presence. Help me understand what went wrong. Show me how my destructive patterns first began. What did I allow to become more important than loving and honoring You? Why did I seek satisfaction in others or other things than You? You are the only One Who provides all my needs. You fill up the soul with deep down joy and peace beyond all understanding.
Lord, may your restoration include new boundaries around my life. I can’t flirt with sin and not be hurt. In restoring me, teach me how to say no again to things which could harm myself or my testimony. If my actions have wounded others, show me where and to whom I need to ask forgiveness or how to make amends. Help me to surround myself with positive encouragers who will hold me accountable and who will speak the truth in love. Truly, shame melts away and we are healed when we confess to others and ask for their help.
I understand that my repentance won’t eliminate the consequences of my sin. Knowing that You don’t hold our sins to our account—You remember them no more–and that You place them as far as the east is from the west both humbles me and fills me with amazement and gratitude. No consequence could ever be as painful as knowing how my sin hurt You or how You suffered for me out of love. Your crucifying death gave me eternal life with You. Lord, You place grace next to my regrets and give me hope for a new future.
Thank You, Lord, that sin does not disqualify us. Instead, like a runner who has fallen but who gets up again, I, too, am willing to start again and finish the race You have set for me.
With Your restoration, Lord, perhaps I can help others find their way back to You again. I will not give my enemy the victory. Instead, I will accept Yours. Instead of a meltdown, with Your help I will allow Your Spirit to give me a hot heart for You, one that seeks You and wants to live for You the rest of my life. Thank You, Jesus, for Your sweet forgiveness and promised restoration.
Never prayed for repentance before?
Pray this prayer for salvation:
Lord, I admit I am a sinner. I need and want Your forgiveness. I accept Your death as the penalty for my sin, and recognize that Your mercy and grace is a gift You offer to me because of Your great love, not based on anything I have done. Cleanse me and make me Your child. By faith I receive You into my heart as the Son of God and as Savior and Lord of my life. From now on, help me live for You, with You in control.
In Your precious name,
Rebecca Barlow Jordan is an inspirational author, speaker, and passionate follower of Jesus who loves to encourage others heart to heart. She has written 11 books and over 1700 other articles, greeting cards, and other inspirational pieces. Her daily devotional Daily in Your Presence is available for delivery through Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Rebecca at www.rebeccabarlowjordan.com.
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Has your life been overwhelming due to the sheer fact you know you did something wrong? Repenting is the key to answering your need for settling it with God, clearing it with those wronged and receiving peace. Get started with Step 1 to learn how to repent and bring your soul peace.
Part 1 Accepting Your Sin
- Be humble.
Remember: you can lie to other people and you can lie to yourself, but you cannot lie to God. If you really want to repent, you need to be humble and ready to admit that you don’t always do the right thing. Be humble before God and know in your heart that He is right and you should live by His word.
Feel and trust God in your heart. You have to believe that God can forgive you and help you to lead a better life. If you do not, you will quickly lose motivation to correct your mistakes. Changing bad habits and righting wrongs is hard and you have to believe that God is there with you or you will falter.
- Think about what you have done.
Think about all of the sins you have committed and all of the things you have done wrong. Don’t limit yourself to the big things like cheating or stealing: all sins are equal in God’s eyes. Sometimes writing your sins down can be helpful. You don’t have to make your list all at once, either. It’s better to take your time and be thorough.
- Reflect on why your action was wrong.
Before you repent, it’s important to think about why what you did was wrong. Blindly following God’s word only shows Him that you do not appreciate what you did was wrong. Think about the people that you hurt when you sin and think about what sin does to your soul (hint: it’s not good for you!). Think about the bad things that that guilt leads you to do. This is an important step!
Repent for the right reasons. Make sure that when you repent, that you understand why. If you think that you should repent so that God will grant you some unrelated wish, you’re not repenting for the right reasons. Repent because it is good for your soul and will make your life more enjoyable and productive, not because you want worldly possessions, riches, or other things like that from God. That’s not what God is for.
- Read the text.
When you go to repent, begin by reading the holy text of your sect (the Bible, the Qur’an, the Torah, etc). Read the passages that deal with repenting but also read more fully of the text, to help God’s word enter into your heart and give your guidance. When we sin, we sin because we have lost our way. You need to find God’s path so that you can walk it again.
- The Christian Bible has many passages that deal with repenting, including Matthew 4:17, and Acts 2:38 and 3:19.
- The major passage in the Quran that deals with repentance is At-Tahriim 66:8.
- Jews can find passages on repentance in Hosea 14:2-5, Proverbs 28:13, and Leviticus 5:5.
Part 2 Making Things Right
- Consult with your spiritual adviser.
Your spiritual adviser, such as a pastor, priest, imam, or rabbi will be able to help you to confess and make things right with God. Remember, their job is to help you on your journey with God! They are happy to help and they understand that man is not perfect: they will not judge you! Even if you are not officially in their congregation, you can ask for advice and set up time to meet with them, so don’t feel bad talking to an adviser that you don’t know.
- Don’t feel like you have to go to a house of God to repent, however, or that you need to talk to an adviser for God to hear you. God hears just as much from you as a religious leader. You can repent completely on your own if you want to.
Change your behavior. When you repent, the main thing to do is to correct your behavior. You have to stop committing the sins for which you wish to repent. This is hard, we know, but you can do it! It will usually take time and a few mistakes, but if you really mean it and you really wish to repent, you will be able to overcome.
Get help. Changing on your own can be really hard. It’s okay if you need more that just a love of God in your heart! Admitting you need help will please God, as it shows that you are humble. You can join a support group, consult with a spiritual adviser, join a congregation, or seek doctors and other professionals. Getting help from people outside your church or religion does not displease God: He has helped them to gain the gifts they have for a reason!
- Resolve the problems you caused.
Another important part of repenting is making right the things you did. You can’t just say sorry and then never suffer the consequences. If you stole something, you need to tell the person you stole from and pay them back. If you lied and someone got in trouble because of your lie, you need to tell the truth and help that person. If you cheated on a test, you need to tell your teacher and talk to them about what consequences they think are right. Do whatever you have to do to help the people that were hurt by you. This will please God.
- Use the lessons you have learned.
Take lessons from the sins you are trying to correct, to help avoid making similar mistakes in other areas. Make your mistakes mean something by helping you avoid other problems in your life. For example, if you lied about cheating on a test and you want to really make that lesson mean something, make sure you don’t lie about other things either.
Guide others in how to avoid your mistakes. Another way to make your sins serve a greater purpose is to help others learn from your mistakes. Sometimes this means going and talking to people about what you did, but you can also actively help solve the problems that led you to sin. For example, if you sinned by doing drugs, consider volunteering with a local drug clinic or supporting legislation that helps combat this problem in your community.
Part 3 Embracing Forgiveness
- Live a life that pleases God.
After you have repented, you should take the opportunity and work as hard as you can to live a life that pleases God. Different religions and denominations have different things to say about what pleases God, but read the text and think about how you feel too. If God is in your heart, he will lead you to the right answer.
Enter into your religious community formally. One thing that you can do that will please God and help keep you from returning to sin is to formally enter and be active in your religious community. For example, get baptized if you have not been already (and you are Christian). Go to services regularly, give money to your organization so that they can help others, and talk with the other members in your community about God’s path. Help and love your brothers and God will be pleased.
Be active in protecting your soul. You should take an active role in protecting your soul in the future. Confess regularly and deal with your sins as often as possible. Watch out for things that you know lead you into temptation and stay away from people who don’t have your best interest in mind. Keep reading the holy text and let God’s light lead you down the best path for you.
- Accept that you will make future mistakes.
You are not perfect and you will make mistakes. God knows this. When you know it too, that is when you know that you are humble. Don’t lose sleep at night worrying about what you might do to displease God. What matters to Him is that you try to that you make things right when you don’t quite make it.
Live a good life. Sins are mistakes that lead us to hurt others and hurt ourselves. When we live a life free of sin, not only do we please God and preserve our souls for eternity, we also make our lives happier and more fulfilling. This is why it’s important to take sin head-on. If you’re doing something that makes you unhappy or leads to hurting other people, stop! By bringing your soul the comfort of forgiveness, you’ll lead a much happier life.
Add New Question
If I watched porn and lied to people I loved, will I go to hell?
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23. Repent and God will forgive you.
I grew up Christian, and I believe in God. I lost touch with him and I’m trying to repent and get closer with God Before he returns. Am I selfish for this?
There’s nothing selfish about it. If I may, I will lend you a few tips for getting closer with God. 1. Share the gospel with friends or people at school/ work. 2. Help the needy. 3. Volunteer at church.
What if I feel I could repent, but can’t confess my sins to my family?
The most important thing is to talk to God about it. Tell Him what you have done and why you feel it’s wrong, and ask Him for forgiveness. Your family doesn’t need to know your sins in order for you to be forgiven.
How do I abstain from friends who encourage me to sin?
Just be honest with them. Tell them that you don’t want to hang around them anymore because you don’t agree with their actions. They will leave you alone.
What if I am too shy, scared, hurt, or embarrassed to speak the truth?
God is your father. He is there for you all the time. Go in a quiet room and talk to Him. Tell the truth, and show God that you are willing to do anything to repent.
What does it mean to repent?
When you repent, you ask God for forgiveness, but then, you have to turn away from the sin and try to not repeat it.
I already got baptized but after being baptized I sinned for many years. I want to repent for my sins. Must I be baptized again?
No, you must repent with a humble heart and contrite spirit.
Will God forgive me for swearing?
Of course. God loves all of us equally. Just remember to repent.
Can I confess in my head or do I have to repent out loud?
God knows your thoughts before you speak. Pray to him and ask for his forgiveness and to help you change for the better.
Isn’t repenting just a free pass to do something wrong since I can just keep repenting?
No, you have to mean it to repent, otherwise God will know your actions are false. He can see through lies. You have to mean it, and change for the better.
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- Forgive yourself. Do not judge yourself. There is one judge: Forgiving yourself, is something you’ll need to do. If you ask for forgiveness but don’t seek it in yourself, you will always hold what you did over your head.
- Remember there is no limit on forgiveness. God will always love you. Nothing can forsake you from Gods love.
- Change your environment. If something caused you to do the sin, then change the circumstances of who or what made you want to do it.
- Know one thing that because of our sins Jesus was wounded, beaten because of the evil we did. We are healed by the punishment he suffered, made whole by the blows he received in our place.(Isaiah 53:5). Now he is ready to forgive, if you really change your mind, turn around and ask him to forgive.
- Realize you are the only one who can change yourself (put on the armor of God). You can want to change. Your family or friends can ask you to change, but when the time comes only you will have to make the dedication to God and to change.
- Believe things will change. Why not see them change? If you were addicted to narcotics or had a habit that you want to get rid of/or overcome, believe that you will get rid of the habit and seek help, if needed.
- Catholics: Ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to pray to her Divine Son for you. He always listens to her prayers on behalf of a sinner.
To repent, start by admitting to God that you have sinned and trust that He will forgive you and help you to live a better life. Think critically about what you’ve done, and come up with ways you can act differently the next time you’re in a similar situation. Pray and ask God for guidance to recognize why your actions were wrong and for clarity about how you can be a better person. If you’re having trouble with your prayers, try consulting the Bible to find passages that describe your problem or talk to a spiritual mentor, like a Pastor or Priest. For tips on making things right and accepting forgiveness for your sins, read on!
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I thought long and prayed hard about what topic to cover on Day Two of the Prayers for All Seasons series.
One one hand, my “blogger brain” told me I needed to make it something appealing. Some clever concoction to keep our zeal fervent and our enthusiasm strong.
On the other hand, my “Christ-follower spirit” is aware that we don’t need clever concoctions conceived in human brains and worked out with human hands.
We need the power of the Holy Spirit.
I’m also very aware that prayers hindered are wasted prayers.
And nothing hinders our prayers quite like unconfessed sin.
So whether it’s popular or not…
and whether or not it appeals to my sometimes-lukewarm-heart…
it’s critical that we devote a day early in this process toward a focus on repentance.
I’m confident that it won’t be among the most-shared posts in this series.
It won’t be the most pinned or liked or tweeted.
And that’s okay.
Because at its very core, this series isn’t about any of that. It’s about you and me getting good and serious with God about prayer.
We need to get real with God.
And that starts with getting real about our sin. I can’t think of a better way to do that than praying the Scriptures for repentance.
Prayers of Repentance
1.)Thank God for His promise that if you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)
2.)Share with God that you are unable to discern the errors of your own heart. Ask Him to cleanse you from faults that you cannot see, as well as from sins you’ve committed intentionally. Pray that you would be free from the dominion of sinful strongholds in your life, becoming blameless and innocent. Ask God that the words of your mouth and the meditations of your heart would be acceptable in the sight of your Rock and Redeemer. (Psalm 19:12-14)
3.)Remind God of His promise that if His people who are called by His name humble themselves, and pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways, then He will hear from heaven and will forgive our sin and heal our land. (2 Chronicles 7:14) Ask Him to do this very thing – to bring in your own heart a fresh awareness of the seriousness of your sin, and that this work would spread like wildfire among His people.
4.)Repent of any distance between you and the Lord. Tell God of your desire to draw near to Him, and claim His promise to draw near to you. Prayerfully seek His cleansing of your hands and His purification your heart. Spend some time searching your heart with seriousness and humility before the Lord. (James 4:8-10)
5.)Thank God for a godly grief that produces repentance that leads to salvation. Tell God that you will look for the fruits of this repentance in the hours and days ahead: “For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment!” (2 Corinthians 7:9-11)
My dear heavenly Father, you know the depths of my sorrow over my sin. Even though it’s painful, I know this sorrow is a gift of grace. I would far rather be aware of my sin and mourning over it, than to be oblivious of it and self-satisfied, because awareness of it is the first step toward confessing it, repenting of it, forsaking it, and turning back toward You. How I thank You for granting me a fresh awareness of my sin before a holy God! Not so I can wallow or berate myself, but so I can come to the cross for cleansing. I cannot improve upon the prayer of David of Psalm 51, and so I offer it to You now.
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to Your steadfast love; according to Your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You may be justified in Your words and blameless in Your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, You delight in truth in the inward being, and You teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that You have broken rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will return to You. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise. For You will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; You will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. Do good to Zion in Your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; then will You delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on Your altar.
Having believed Your promise, I receive Your forgiveness, recognizing that You remove my sin as far as the east is from the west, choosing to remember it no more. There are no words to thank You for this grace. It’s in the name Jesus, my Savior, I pray. Amen.
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Forgiveness and repentance go hand-in-hand in a Christian’s life. We must learn to always forgive others and to ask for forgiveness ourselves. Without repentance, we are liable of judgment from God. If we withhold forgiveness to others, forgiveness will also be withheld from us. Here are 7 prayers focusing on forgiveness and repentance. May we all strive to live as holy as possible by allowing the Spirit to convict us of our sins and to forgive others that sin against us.
There are no words to express how filthy I feel every time I break Your heart. The guilt and the shame are overwhelming! Lord, I need Your touch right now. I am so sick of being “born again” and still doing the things I hate doing. Like Paul, I am conflicted. “For I do not do what I want, but do the very thing that I hate.” (Romans 7:15) I am so sorry! Father, I ask for Your forgiveness right now. I am shocked that my life has come to a point where even some sins don’t affect me at all. Father, I have some hard layers on my heart that need peeling. Please give me a 100% heart of flesh. The hardness is a barrier between us that I can’t stand! I love You and I am so regrettably sorry for my selfish actions. Thank You for Your forgiveness, Lord. Without forgiveness I am nothing. With Your forgiveness I am whole again. I praise Your Name! Amen
Strength To Forgive Others
I can’t seem to shake the harm that’s been done to me off my shoulders. I am wallowing in the anger I feel. Lord, I shouldn’t think the vengeful thoughts that I have. You have called me to forgive every single person that wrongs me. I need Your strength to overcome these trespasses against me. Father, I want to forgive these people. Please cast the devil’s evil ways from me. I want to look at these people and see lost souls that need You. I want to forgive them completely so that You can use me however You wish, to be Jesus to them. Father, I am done with holding these grudges! Forgive me for holding on to them. I cast this burden at Your throne now. Do with me as you please Father. I love You and thank you for Your patience with me. Amen
Why do You forgive us? We shout praises to You when we sing worship. With the same tongue we curse other people that are made in Your image. (James 3:9 reference) Why do You forgive us? We say we love You and still keep sinning. Why do You forgive us? We spend time in prayer thanking You for your blessings and then we refuse to bless others. Why do You forgive us? We read our Bibles when we make time for it, but we also read other nonsense that is offensive to You. Why do You forgive us? We praise Jesus for His death on the cross for the atonement of our sins and then we nail Him to it again every time we trespass against You. Why do You forgive us every single time? I am so thankful for your endless supply of forgiveness! I can’t fathom how You do it, for I am only one man. You do this for every single person! The compassion and grace and mercy that flow from You is absolutely amazing and I love You for it! Thank you so much for forgiving me every time I sin! You are worthy to be praised! Amen
Repentance From Unbelievers
Father in heaven,
My heart grieves for those close to me that do not want to know You. They are lost souls wandering wherever the devil takes them. They are fulfilling their own desires of the flesh instead of yearning for the life that You give. Father, use me or anyone that You please to show Christ-like love to them. Father, I love these men and women and to think of them in eternal torment is tormenting me! I pray that the seeds that are planted in them Lord will be grown by You. You make miracles happen every day and I pray that You make one today in the lives of the lost. I praise Your Holy Name! Amen
Forgiveness For Children
Just as Job continually offered burnt offerings to you for the forgiveness of his children, (Job 1:5) I am praying for the forgiveness of mine. Lord, only You know what they have done. If they have sinned against You I pray that You would forgive them. I pray that they would seek repentance to make things right with You. Lord, if there is any sin that needs to be forgiven, I pray that You would soften their hearts and bring them safely into Your arms of grace and mercy. I thank you for Your unlimited love for us! Amen
You are all-powerful! Even Your thoughts produce action. I pray for our leaders in the government. Lord, they also have power, though it is limited. I pray that they would use their positions wisely, for You are the One who has allowed them to lead us. We need strong men and women of faith in these kinds of roles. I pray that our men and women in authority will strive to live godly lives and to repent when necessary. As in Animal Farm, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” If there is any corruption, I pray that our leaders would repent and ask for forgiveness, so that our country doesn’t fall apart. I thank you for our leaders and pray for their safety. I love you Father! Amen
I pray for pastors around the world. If there is any un-confessed sin active in their lives, I pray that You would bring them to the deepest valleys if that is what it takes to get them back on the narrow path. We need strong pastors leading our congregations. I pray that You would use the people closest to their pastors to keep them accountable, Lord. Accountability is a must in every Christian’s life. I thank you for our pastors, Lord, for they have a huge role to play here on earth. They have many big responsibilities and I am so grateful that they accept the challenges of pastoring. I love You, Lord! Amen
Forgiveness is absolutely necessary in a Christian’s walk with the Lord. “Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.” (Luke 11:4) God bless you as you live a life worthy of the calling!
Have you read this other article about prayer?
What Does the Bible Say About Prayer?
Resources – The Holy Bible, English Standard Version “Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
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