4 Powerful Prayers When You Need Forgiveness

My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.
In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against You, whom I should love above all things.

4 Powerful Prayers When You Need Forgiveness

We can all think of times when we have fallen short of what we know is right and good. Times when we are left with feelings of guilt and sadness for our words or actions. Whether we have hurt others, turned away from God, or failed to act when we know what the right thing to do was, each of us knows well the stories of our own shortcomings. Thankfully, a life of faith offers with it the perfect remedy of forgiveness.

One option is to honestly and humbly express sorrow for sin in private prayer. While this is important, Catholics also have a special way of asking God’s forgiveness through the Sacrament of Confession (also referred to as Reconciliation). This is where we speak our sins aloud to God in the presence of an ordained Priest. This can feel intimidating, but a bit of preparation beforehand will give you the confidence you need to approach the confessional.

One good practice is to examine our lives in private prayer first by conducting an ‘examination of conscience’ and noting the specific times we have fallen short. The most serious of these shortcomings are what we typically say in confession. It also helps to know a version of the prayer we offer after naming our sins. This is called an Act of Contrition. It helps us to formulate and express our sorrow for our sins and an earnest desire to change moving forward.

The words of such prayers have taken many forms over the years. Here are a few options for when we discover that we are in need of some kind of reconciliation with God and/or our neighbor.

4 Powerful Prayers When You Need Forgiveness

Act of Contrition

My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.
In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against You, whom I should love above all things.
I firmly intend, with Your help, to do penance, sin no more, and avoid whatever leads me to sin.
Our Savior, Jesus Christ, suffered and died for us.
In His Name, my God, have mercy on me. Amen.

Prayer for Forgiveness

Lord Jesus, I come before You today feeling quite low.
As I consider my mistakes, the ways I have sinned against You and others, my heart breaks to see my actions in the mirror of my conscience, and I feel lost.
When I remember the love You have for us, it deepens my grief for what I have done, and I wish I could take it all back.
I know the only way is forward, however, and to move in that direction, I desperately need Your forgiveness.
May Your mercy wash me of all my sins and cleanse my heart of evil desires.
You willingness to die on the cross provides me confidence that, if I ask to be forgiven, You will give me this gift.
And once I have freedom from my sin, keep me safe from future temptations and strengthen my heart and resolve to choose what is right.
Thank You, Jesus, for Your sacrifice that affords me another chance. Amen.

Prayer for Forgiveness of Sins

O Lord, Jesus Christ, Redeemer and Savior, forgive my sins, just as You forgave Peter’s denial and those who crucified You.
Count not my transgressions, but rather my tears of repentance.
Remember not my iniquities but, more especially, my sorrow for the offenses I have committed against You.
I long to be true to Your Word, and pray that You will love me and come to make Your dwelling place within me.
I promise to give You praise and glory in love and in service all the days of my life.

Psalm 51

Have mercy on me, God, in accordance with Your merciful love;
    in Your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions.
Thoroughly wash away my guilt;
    and from my sin cleanse me.
For I know my transgressions;
    my sin is always before me.
Against You, You alone, have I sinned;
    I have done what is evil in Your eyes
So that You are just in Your Word,
    and without reproach in Your judgment.
Behold, I was born in guilt,
    in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, You desire true sincerity;
    and secretly You teach me Wisdom.
Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
You will let me hear gladness and joy;
    the bones You have crushed will rejoice.
Turn away Your face from my sins;
    blot out all my iniquities.
A clean heart create for me, God;
    renew within me a steadfast spirit.

The Lord be with you.

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