Prayers for Forgiveness

The Forgiveness of Jesus Christ

We invite you to pray the following prayers for forgiveness, which are based on the Bible, drawn from both Old and New Testament passages. While these Old Testament passages are sources of instruction, perseverance, encouragement, and hope (Romans 15:4), we are mindful of the ultimate forgiveness of sin offered to believers in Jesus. In Jesus, believers have received forgiveness in the past, are receiving forgiveness in the present, and will receive forgiveness in the future all because of the cross of Christ. Therefore, we encourage you to pray for forgiveness with this mindset:


I am grateful to You, God, for the blessing of Your forgiveness. I thank You that in Jesus Christ, You set me free from the guilt of the past and give me hope for the future.


Table of Contents

Acknowledging Sin

The desire to have our sins forgiven acknowledges at least these things about the world:

  1. That sin exists.
  2. That sin needs forgiving.
  3. That sin can be forgiven.
  4. That God is the One who is able to forgive sin.
  5. That God is the One who does forgive sin.

Praying for forgiveness of sins acknowledges at least these things about yourself:

  1. That sin exists in your life.
  2. That your sin needs forgiving.
  3. That your sin can be forgiven.
  4. That God is the One who is able to forgive your sin.
  5. That God is the One who does forgive your sin.

The following prayers for forgiveness focus on acknowledging (or confessing) sin. After you pray, consider taking a moment to ask the Spirit to search your heart and reveal any areas of unconfessed sin. Acknowledge these sins to the Lord, ask Him to forgive you, and thank Him that you are forgiven.

I Confess My Sin

The Bible refers to this acknowledgment of sin as confession (an agreement with about the nature of sin, a conceding of that truth, or a naming of those sins). While it is not necessary to name all of your sins (that might bring about more of a focus on yourself and your sin than on the One who forgives sin), it is pointless to attempt hide your sin from God’s sight.

Prayer for Forgiveness 1: When I sin against you, my Lord, I know that my sin will find me out. My wickedness will punish me and my backsliding will reprove me. I know that it is evil and bitter to forsake You and have no fear of You. Thank you for your offer to forgive.

Bible Verses: Numbers 32:23; Jeremiah 2:19

Prayer for Forgiveness 2: Father, You have been just in all that has happened to me. You have acted faithfully, while I did wrong. I thank you for your faithfulness in my live, and thank you for your faithfulness to forgive me.

Bible Verse: Nehemiah 9:33

Prayer for Forgiveness 3: Father, If I claim to be without sin, I deceive myself, and the truth is not in me. If I confess my sins, You are faithful and just and will forgive me my sins and purify me from all unrighteousness. If I claim I have not sinned, I make You to be a liar. I confess to you my sin, today, and and thank You for Your promise to forgive.

Bible Verses: 1 John 1:8–10

Prayer for Forgiveness 4: I confess my iniquity this day. I am troubled by my sin. My Savior, do not forsake me. Do not be far from me! Help me quickly—you are my salvation. Thank you for your help.

Bible Verses: Psalm 38:18, 21–22

Confessing your sin can help bring about the peace and blessing expressed by David in Psalm 32:1–5. Notice the way he describes the hurt within his own body when he held on to his sin. Consider saying the following out loud, which comes straight from the Psalm, based on David’s recounting of his confession:

Prayer for Forgiveness 5: Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man
whose iniquity the LORD does not count against him,
in whose spirit there is no deceit.
When I kept silent, my bones became brittle
from my groaning all day long.
For day and night
Your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was drained
as in the summer heat. …

Then I acknowledged my sin to You
and did not hide my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
and You forgave the guilt of my sin.

I Acknowledge that My Sin Is Against God

Though our sins damage ourselves and hurt others (in violation of the second great command to love others as we love ourselves), sin is foremost a violation of the great command to love our Creator. It is, in that sense, a sin against Him alone. It is why David, despite his numerous sins against others, declares, “Against You, You only, I have sinned” (Psalm 51:4, NASB). Sin is ultimately against the only One who is good (Matthew 19:17).

Prayer for Forgiveness 6: When I have sinned against You, hear from heaven and forgive my sin and restore me. Teach me the good way in which I should walk. When I sin against You—for there is no one who does not sin—help me to return to You with all my heart and with all my soul. I confess Your great name and its power to keep me from sin.

Bible Verses: 1 Kings 8:33–34, 36, 46, 48

Prayer for Forgiveness 7: Great Healer, be gracious to me. Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You. Forgive me. Thank you for your grace.

Bible Verses: Psalm 41:4

Prayer for Forgiveness 8: My trespasses are multiplied before You, and my sins testify against me. For my transgressions are with me, and I know my iniquities: transgressing and lying against the Lord and departing from my God, speaking oppression and revolt, uttering lies that my heart has conceived. Forgive my multiple and repeated sins against You.

Bible Verses: Isaiah 59:12–13

Repenting of Sin

Repentance can involve a change of mind and actions regarding sin. The following prayers for forgiveness focus on repentance.

Prayer for Forgiveness 9: Father, You are the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, who says, “In repentance and rest is your salvation; In quietness and trust is your strength.” I repent of my sin, and I rest in your promise to forgive. Amen.

Bible Verse: Isaiah 30:15

Prayer for Forgiveness 10: Jesus, those whom You love, You rebuke and discipline. Therefore may I be zealous and repent. Amen.

Bible Verse: Revelation 3:19

Prayer for Forgiveness 11: Father, when I sin, help me to not dwell in a worldly sort of sorrow that would lead to my death. Grant me godly sorrow and the ability to recognize it. May it result in repentance that leads to deliverance and leaves no regret. Amen.

Bible Verse: 2 Corinthians 7:10

Returning to the Lord

Repenting of sin should lead to returning to God. It is only in Him that we find the help me need—healing from our sins and protection against a life of sin. The following prayers for forgiveness focus on that return.

Prayer for Forgiveness 12: Righteous Lord, help me to forsake my wicked ways and my unrighteous thoughts; I return to You, for You will have mercy on me. I return to You, for You abundantly pardon. Amen.

Bible Verse: Isaiah 55:7

Prayer for Forgiveness 13: I return to You, Lord. For You have torn me, but You will heal me. You have injured me but You will bind up my wounds. After two days You will revive me. On the third day You will raise me up so that I can live before You. Amen.

Bible Verses: Hosea 6:1–2

Prayer for Forgiveness 14: I return to You my God, for I have stumbled because of my iniquity. I repent and return to You. I ask that You would take away all iniquity and receive me graciously so that I may offer the fruit of my lips. Amen.

Bible Verses: Hosea 14:1–2

Prayer for Forgiveness 15: Compassionate King, You once declared, “Even now, return to Me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning, and rend your heart and not your garments.” I return to You, for You are gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. I ask that you relent from sending punishment. Amen.

Bible Verses: Joel 2:12–13

Prayer for Forgiveness 16: Why should I complain when punished for my sins? Let me rather search out and examine my ways, and then let me return to the Lord. Amen.

Bible Verses: Lamentations 3:39–40

Variety in Prayers for Forgiveness

There’s not a magic formula to pray the “best prayers for forgiveness.” It’s not the case that you will utter the right words in the right way and thus win forgiveness. However, there are different words throughout the Scriptures used to depict both sins and and the ways in which the repentant sought to be forgiven. The following prayers for forgiveness illustrate the variety of terms. As you pray, pay attention to the different words used to express sin and the different ways the writer asks to be forgiven.

Prayer for Forgiveness 17: Righteous Warrior, do not rebuke me in Your wrath, and do not reprimand me in Your anger. Your arrows have pierced me deeply, and Your hand has pressed down upon me. There is no health in my body because of Your wrath nor peace in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities have gone over my head; as a heavy burden, they weigh too much for me. Amen.

Bible Verses: Psalm 38:1–4

Prayer for Forgiveness 18: My great Help and Savior, blot out my transgressions for Your own sake. Remember my sins no longer. Amen.

Bible Verse: Isaiah 43:25

Prayer for Forgiveness 19: Though my sins are like scarlet, make them white as snow. Though they are red as crimson, make them to be like wool. Amen.

Bible Verse: Isaiah 1:18

Prayer for Forgiveness 20: Save me from bloodguilt, my Savior, and my tongue will sing aloud of Your righteousness. Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise. For You do not desire sacrifice, or I would bring it. You do not delight in burnt offering, but rather a broken spirit. A broken and contrite heart You will not despise. Amen.

Bible Verses: Psalm 51:14–17

An Appeal to God’s Mercy

We deserve justice, but in His love, the Lord offers us mercy. In Jesus, we are justified, and are therefore recipients of both mercy and grace. The following prayers for forgiveness focus on our merciful Creator who freely bestows upon us His mercy.

Prayer for Forgiveness 21: Great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness with those who love Him and with those who obey His commandments, I have sinned and committed iniquity; I have been wicked and have rebelled, even turning away from Your commandments and from Your judgments. To You belong mercy and the willingness to forgive, even though I have rebelled against You. I have not obeyed Your voice to walk in Your laws which You set before me. Forgive my sin.

Bible Verses: Daniel 9:4–5, 9–10

Prayer for Forgiveness 22: Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger or chastise me in Your wrath. Be merciful to me, Lord, because I am weak. Heal me, for my very bones are in distress. My soul also is greatly troubled. How long must this continue? I ask You to forgive me. Amen.

Bible Verses: Psalm 6:1–3

Prayer for Forgiveness 23: Let Your power be great, just as You have spoken, saying, “The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression.” Forgive me so that I might know Your great power. Amen.

Bible Verses: Numbers 14:17–18

Prayer for Forgiveness 24: Lord, I know of Your ability, and I stand in awe of Your deeds. Revive Your work in the midst of my years. Make Your works known in my life. In wrath remember mercy. Amen.

Bible Verse: Habakkuk 3:2

Discipline

Our faithful Father will not only forgive us for our sin, but will also discipline us against it so that we can “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). The following prayers for forgiveness focus on our Heavenly Father’s discipline, as further expounded in Hebrews 12.

Prayer for Forgiveness 25: Father, I will not forget Your exhortation that addresses me as a son:

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
Nor lose heart when you are rebuked by Him,
For whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He chastises every son whom He receives. Amen.

Prayer for Forgiveness 26: Father, I will endure Your discipline, knowing that You are treating me as a son. For what son is not disciplined by his father? I know that if I am without the discipline that all of Your children participate in, then I am an illegitimate child and not a true son. Just as I respect the righteous discipline of an earthly father; how much more should I be subject to the Father of spirits and live? Help me to welcome Your discipline in my life. Help me to view it as the act of love that it is. Amen.

Bible Verses: Hebrews 12:5–9

Restoration, Revival, Redemption, Rejoicing

The Lord’s forgiveness and discipline result in restoration, revival, redemption, and the opportunity for rejoicing. The following prayers for forgiveness focus on the renewing nature of God’s forgiveness and the grace found in Jesus.

Prayer for Forgiveness 27: Restore us again, O God of our salvation,
And put away Your anger toward us.
Will You be angry with us forever?
Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?
Will You not revive us again,
That Your people may rejoice in You?
Show us Your lovingkindness, O Lord,
And grant us Your salvation. Amen.

Bible Verses: Psalm 85:4–7

(This request for restoration is appears in the resource Simple Prayers.)

Prayer for Forgiveness 28: Jesus, You have redeemed me from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us on the cross, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.” Your obedience to the Father’s plan has redeemed those under law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Thank you for the redemption of my life. Amen.

Bible Verses: Galatians 3:13; 4:4–5

Prayer for Forgiveness 29: Jesus, You are my high priest of the good things that have come. You went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with hands, one that is not a part of this creation. Not through the blood of goats and calves but through Your own blood, You entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. Cleanse my conscience to serve You. May I receive Your promise of the eternal inheritance. Amen.

Bible Verses: Hebrews 9:11–15

Perseverance

Our Savior is faithful to renew us, but we are easily trapped by the world, the flesh, and the devil. We know that sin will hurt us, but it nevertheless appeals to our weakness. Hebrews makes it clear that we have to choose to “lay aside every encumbrance” and acknowledges that sin “easily entangles us” (12:1). The following prayers for forgiveness focus on persevering in the face of sin.

Prayer for Forgiveness 30: Remind me, Father, that sin shall not be my master, because I am not under law, but under grace. I have been set free from sin and have become a slave of righteousness. I was washed, I was sanctified, I was justified in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ and by the Holy Spirit. You made Jesus, who knew no sin, to be sin for me, so that in Him I might become the righteousness of God. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Bible Verses: 1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 6:14, 18

Prayer for Forgiveness 31: Holy Spirit, remind me that in Christ Jesus I have redemption through the blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of Father’s grace that He lavished on me with all wisdom and understanding. Merciful Father, I know that because of the great love with which You love me, that I have been made me alive with Christ, even when I was dead in transgressions; it is by grace I have been saved. Amen.

Bible Verses: Ephesians 1:7–8; 2:4–5

Prayer for Forgiveness 32: Lord, may I not transgress Your commandments, for I cannot prosper in disobedience. Help me to not forsake You. Amen.

Bible Verses: 2 Corinthians 24:20

Prayer for Forgiveness 33: Father, as an obedient child, may I not conform myself to the former lusts I had when I lived in ignorance. Just as You—the One who called me—are holy, may I be holy in all my conduct, because it is written: “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” I desire Your holiness to mark my life and not the hurt of sin. Amen.

Bible Verses: 1 Peter 1:14–16

Being trapped again in a pattern of sin can cause us to lose hope. Don’t despair. There’s hope for those trapped in addiction.

Forgiveness based on Fear?

To understand the following prayers for forgiveness that focus on godly fear, we invite you to understand what we mean by this concept, by reading the article, “Delighting in the Fear of the Lord.” Understanding this concept of biblical fear will help you as you pray

Prayer for Forgiveness 34: Out of the depths I call to You, Lord. Hear my voice, and let Your ears be attentive to my voice. If You should mark iniquities, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared. Amen.

Bible Verses: Psalm 130:1–4

Prayer for Forgiveness 35: Righteous King, You will not always strive with us, nor will You hold on to Your anger forever. You do not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is Your love for those who fear You. As far as the east is from the west, that’s how far have You removed my transgressions from me. As a father has compassion on his children, so You have compassion on those who fear You. Amen.

Bible Verses: Psalm 103:9–13

Prayer for Forgiveness 36: Since I call on You, Father, who judges each man’s work impartially, I want to conduct myself in fear during the time of my sojourn on earth. Amen.

Bible Verse: 1 Peter 1:17

Prayer for Forgiveness 37: I want to keep Your commandments, my Lord and my God, to walk in Your ways, to follow you, and to fear You. May I keep Your commandments, hear Your voice, serve You, and hold fast to You. Amen.

Bible Verses: Deuteronomy 8:6; 13:4

Forgiving Others

While we’re eager for others to forgive us when we’ve hurt them, the eagerness to forgive others isn’t present in the same way when others hurt us. However, to forgive another is one of the key characteristics of the wise. As you pray, recall the Jesus’s instructions that our own forgiveness is linked to a call to forgive others. The following prayers for forgiveness focus on the hard ask of forgiving others.

Prayer for Forgiveness 38: Father in heaven, forgive my sins, as I forgive anyone who sins against me. When I’m tempted to withhold forgiveness, remind me to place no such limit, as you reminded Peter, “I tell you, not seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Give me the faith needed to forgive all. Amen.

Bible Verses: Matthew 6:13; 18:21–22

Prayer for Forgiveness 39: Gracious Father, help me to be kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving because You in Christ Jesus have forgiven me. Amen.

Bible Verse: Ephesians 4:31

Prayer for Forgiveness 40: My Father, You chose me and You call me to holiness. Help me, as Your beloved child, to be compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, and patient so that I can bear with others and forgive them, just as You forgave me. Amen.

Bible Verses: Colossians 3:12–13

Those who have placed their faith in Christ have been granted the gift of forgiveness. Exercising that gift in your life further strengthens the faith we need to persevere, and it encourages us in the faith. We pray that you will have made time for these short, but powerful prayers for forgiveness, based on the Bible. May the help you to understand the love extended to you in Jesus and empower you to forgive others. For more teaching on this topic, we invite you to watch this video of Dr. Ken Boa teaching on the grace of forgiveness:

Prayers for Forgiveness

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