Growing up in a Christian background, praying for forgiveness and forgiving others is something that was instilled in me since my early childhood days. I remember my parents and Sunday school teachers insisting that the only way to maintain a relationship with God is through asking for forgiveness as we constantly sin against Him. Therefore, I have grown up embracing and making the lifestyle of forgiving and praying for forgiveness my nature. You might wonder, what are some prayers for forgiveness that you can say?
An example of a simple prayer for forgiveness that you can say is, “Dear God, I come to you with a heavy and humble heart, seeking forgiveness for my actions. I acknowledge that I have made mistakes and have strayed from the path of goodness and light. I ask for your forgiveness and for your guidance to help me become a better person. I pray for the strength to do what is right and to be a positive force in the world. Thank you for your love and mercy and for the opportunity to seek forgiveness and redemption. Amen.” This prayer is inspired by Psalms 51:1-2.
I invite you to join me in this article as I give you the different prayers that you can say when asking for forgiveness and repenting. I will also look into what the Bible says about forgiveness and when it is appropriate to pray for forgiveness. Read on to learn more.
What does the Bible say about forgiveness?
The Bible does not offer Christians the dictionary definition of forgiveness, but there are several verses where it teaches us about true forgiveness and even give examples. The first and greatest form of forgiveness, as depicted in the Bible, is how God forgave us. He gave us His only son so our relationship with Him could be restored.
The book of Psalms 103:8-12 reminds us that we serve a God who is slow to anger and abounding in love. He does not treat us according to our unrighteousness but extends his hands of grace and mercy toward us. Additionally, the Bible indicates that forgiveness is found in the realm of sin. Where the Bible mentions forgiveness, there is sin in the picture.
Therefore, for one to be truly forgiven of their sins, one needs to confess to God and believe that he is just and faithful enough to cleanse. The book 1st John 1:8-10 says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word not in us.”
Furthermore, though God is gracious and merciful enough to forgive us every time we sin, it does not mean that we have to continuously and intentionally sin. The book of Romans 6:1-2 says, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”
Therefore, though the scripture is clear that there is no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus, we should struggle to walk like Jesus did Romans 8:1. Seeking God’s will and doing it. And if we fall short, He will pardon us according to his riches in grace.
10 Prayers for forgiveness
A forgiveness prayer for the things you have done and those you are not aware
Dear Father, I come before you with a heart full of thanksgiving for the abundant grace that you have showered on us and reconciled us to Yourself through your Holy son Jesus Christ. Dear God, your word says that we have all sinned and fallen short of your glory, and those who say have not to lie and make you a liar (Romans 3:23).
Lord, there are times that we have not loved you with all our soul, heart, and mind as you command us in your word. We have sinned against you and brought so much pain in your presence. Lord, I pray that you may extend your gracious hand and love towards us.
Lord, thank you for always giving us multiple chances, even when we feel we are not deserving. May you cleanse us with the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on the Calvary tree. And Lord, as you forgive us our trespasses, may your grace be sufficient on us so that we can forgive those who have sinned against us. May your Holy name be uplifted, and your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Amen! – Inspired by Colin Smith
This prayer is based on Romans 3:23, that we have all sinned against God. Sometimes you might not catch yourself sinning, or you might not be aware you have sinned, but it is important to repent.
The repentance prayer
Heavenly Father, I come to you with a repentant heart, asking for your forgiveness for my sins. I acknowledge that I have strayed from your path, and I am sorry for the things that I have done wrong. Please forgive me for my sins, and help me to live a life that is pleasing to you. Father, your word in the book Psalms 103:8-12 says that you are merciful and slow to anger. You are abounding in love and do not repay us according to the sins we have committed against. Father, as I seek to be forgiven and cleansed by you, I ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help me to make the right choices and to follow your will. Thank you for your love and mercy and for the opportunity to seek forgiveness and redemption. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. – Inspired by Prayers and possibilities
The Prayer of Repentance is a prayer of surrender, acknowledging that we have fallen short of God’s standards and asking for His forgiveness. We ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help us make the right choices and to follow God’s will.
A prayer for repentance and restoration
Dear Lord, I am tired of this cycle of sin and harmful habits that hurt my faith and make me feel distant from you. I have strayed away from the right path and listened to the voice of the enemy. My choices and actions have led me to places that are disastrous and hurt my walk with you.
Dear Father, I cry with pain when I remember the days I walked with you, listened to your guidance, and followed your lead. Yet little by little, I hid into temptations instead of your truth. Instead of governing my thoughts and confessing my sin, I hid in them and allowed them to grow out of proportion.
Lord, you say in the book of Romans 8:31-39 that nothing can separate us from your love, not even sin. God, when I feel unworthy of your love today, remind me of these promises. Father, I am confessing my astray ways today and acknowledge that I desperately need you. You have promised us forgiveness if we turn away from your wicked ways.
I pray that you might not strike me out of your presence but extend your gracious and merciful hand towards me. Lord, give me the grace that I had. The grace that always made me listen to your voice and follow your word. Forgive me and restore me. May you root out all the evil and dark parts in me and fill up my life with your light and holy presence. Amen. – Inspired by Rebecca Barlow Jordan
This prayer is based on Romans 8:31-39. The author of Romans questions if we should continue to sin just because grace is abundant. This prayer reminds us that it does not matter how far we feel distant from God; he is able to forgive us and restore us. The book of Romans reminds us that not even sin can separate us from his abounding love.
Prayer for Forgiveness and Healing
Dear God, I ask for your forgiveness for the harm I have caused to myself and others. Please help me to heal from the pain and sorrow of my mistakes and to learn from them so that I may become a better person. I feel like I am trapped in this bondage and sin. I come to you for your help, healing, and rescue. May your mercy and compassion be with me always. Amen. – Inspired by Billy Hallowell
The forgiveness and healing prayer is a prayer to allow God to work on us. Sin brings so much shame and pain to us, and this prayer allows you to surrender to God to heal you from the shame and guilt.
The Psalm 51 repentance prayer
“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 alone, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.”
This prayer is inspired by Psalm 51. It is often referred to as the “Miserere” and is a prayer of repentance and forgiveness. Thus prayer is attributed to King David after he was confronted by the prophet Nathan for his sins. In this prayer, we ask God to create in us a clean heart and renew the right spirit within us. It is a powerful prayer of repentance and surrender.
Prayer of Confession and Forgiveness
Dear God, I confess my sins to you and ask for your forgiveness. I know that I have fallen short of your expectations and have hurt others with my actions. Please help me to seek your guidance and to make amends for my mistakes. Grant me the grace to forgive those who have wronged me, just as you have forgiven me. Amen.
This prayer is based on the Lord’s Prayer (Mathew 6:9-3). Whenever you pray, always ask for forgiveness, and also ask God for the grace to forgive those who have wronged you.
A repentance prayer for forgiveness and salvation
Lord, King of Kings and creator of the whole universe and earth, I come before you as a sinner. Lord, I have seen your loving hand even in my dark nature of sin. Your grace and mercy have been abounding and kept me going even when I have been unfaithful to you. Lord, you remind me that there is no condemnation to those who are in you; how I pray that the holy communion through your son Jesus Christ who shed his blood on Calvary, may not bring me punishment and condemnation but forgiveness and salvation.
Lord, may you search my heart and create in me a new Spirit. May your salvation and forgiveness be a shield of goodwill. May it bring me obedience, patience, humility, and growth and purify me from my old ways. May you constantly remind me of your love so that I may not go astray. Guide me and lead me through this new journey. Amen.
This prayer is based on Isaiah 1:18, where God calls us to reason together with him. It doesn’t matter what you have done or how dark your past looks; God is willing to forgive and save you as long as you are willing to talk to him through prayer.
Prayer of Contrition and Pardon
Dear God, I come before you with a contrite heart and ask for your pardon. I know that I have sinned against you and others, and I am truly sorry. Please grant me the strength to make amends and to seek reconciliation with those whom I have hurt. Thank you for your boundless love and forgiveness. Amen.
This prayer is based on Psalms 51:17. God reassures us that he will not despise a contrite heart and broken spirit. This prayer allows you to submit to God with utmost humility and ask him to forgive you and also give you the grace to make amends with those you have hurt.
Prayer for forgiving others
Dear Lord, I come before you as a child who does not know the way and needs guidance. I have received insight and gained a better understanding of what it means to forgive others. I ask for your help so that I may be able to forgive others from my heart. Lord, I have sinned against you countless times, but you have always forgiven me each time. Just the way you have freely forgiven me, may I forgive others who hurt me. I also pray that those who I have hurt may have the heart to forgive me. May you lead me and put in me a kind spirit and a heart full of forgiveness. Amen.
This prayer is inspired by Mathew 6:14-15. The key to attaining forgiveness is learning to forgive others freely and wholly as God forgives us.
Prayer for Grace and Forgiveness
Dear God, I humbly ask for your grace and forgiveness. I know that I have fallen short of your expectations and have sinned against you and others. Please help me to turn away from my wrongdoing and to seek your guidance in all that I do. May your love and mercy be with me always. Amen.
This prayer is inspired by the book of Isaiah. The Lord asks us in Isaiah 55:7 to forsake our wicked ways and turn to Him; he is merciful enough to pardon us. All we have to do is make the step to return to him.
Can I pray these prayers for myself?
You can pray these prayers for yourself. It is common for people to pray for forgiveness for themselves as mentioned in 1 John 1:9. Seeking forgiveness is considered an important step in the process of repentance and spiritual growth. If you feel that you have done something wrong and wish to seek forgiveness, you can certainly pray for it. It is important to sincerely acknowledge your mistakes, express remorse, and ask for forgiveness from God.
Can I say more than one prayer for forgiveness?
You can say more than one prayer for forgiveness. In fact, many people find it helpful to make forgiveness a regular part of their spiritual practice and may include it in their daily prayers. Depending on your specific beliefs and practices, you may choose to recite any of the above prayers for forgiveness, or you may offer your own personal prayer. It is important to approach forgiveness with a sincere heart, acknowledging any wrongdoing, and expressing genuine remorse.
When should I pray for forgiveness?
You can pray for forgiveness at any time. Though some might say you should only ask for forgiveness after you have sinned, there are some words and sins we commit, and we are unaware of, as implied in Psalms 19:12-14; hence asking for forgiveness should be a daily practice. Regardless of whether you sinned intentionally or unintentionally, you should always ask God to forgive you, search your heart, and renew you.
Additionally, you should seek forgiveness when you feel guilty, remorseful, or ashamed about something you have done that has hurt others or violated your moral code. It is important to note that seeking forgiveness is not only about asking for divine forgiveness but also seeking forgiveness from those you have wronged. You should reflect on your actions and take steps to make amends with the people you have hurt or offended.
How many times can I say these prayers to receive forgiveness?
There is no specific number of times that you need to say a forgiveness prayer to receive forgiveness. The sincerity of your prayer and your genuine desire to seek forgiveness is more important than the number of times you say the prayer.
However, it is important to note that seeking forgiveness is not just about reciting a prayer; it also involves taking responsibility for any harm that you have caused and taking steps to make amends. The most important thing is to approach forgiveness with a humble and sincere heart and to strive to make positive changes in your thoughts, words, and actions.
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.