By Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff, Crosswalk.com
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? We have also downloaded a beautiful PDF version of these prayers for you to download and keep with you as you pursue God's love and grace.
A Prayer to Help You Forgive Others
Father, only you understand how much I’ve been hurt by this person. I don’t want to carry the pain for another second. I don’t want to be a bitter person. But I need your grace and the power of the cross to release my hurt and to forgive those who’ve hurt me. This is the turning point. First, I need to experience your forgiveness. You know all the ways I’ve hurt others, and I’m so sorry for my sins. Jesus, thank you for dying for me. I accept your grace and forgiveness, and I need it daily. Today I’m turning to you, and I’m choosing to forgive the way you have forgiven me. Every time the memory comes back, I’ll forgive that person again until the pain is gone. Heal my heart with your grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen. (Rick Warren)
Prayer to God for Forgiveness of Sins
Even while I encourage you to pray this prayer, I caution you that saying words alone will not save you. Prayer doesn’t save. Only Christ can save. But prayer can be a means of reaching out to the Lord in true saving faith. If you pray these words in faith, Christ will save you. You can be sure of that.
Lord Jesus, for too long I’ve kept you out of my life. I know that I am a sinner and that I cannot save myself. No longer will I close the door when I hear you knocking. By faith I gratefully receive your gift of salvation. I am ready to trust you as my Lord and Savior. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for coming to earth. I believe you are the Son of God who died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead on the third day. Thank you for bearing my sins and giving me the gift of eternal life. I believe your words are true. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus, and be my Savior. Amen.
If you have prayed this prayer in sincere faith, you may want to put your initials by the prayer along with today’s date as a reminder that you have come to Christ in faith, trusting him as your Lord and Savior. (Dr Ray Pritchard)
Prayer for Forgiving Others
Dear Merciful Lord, Thank you for your gift of forgiveness. Your only Son loved me enough to come to earth and experience the worst pain imaginable so I could be forgiven. Your mercy flows to me in spite of my faults and failures. Your Word says to “clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” (Col. 3:14) Help me demonstrate unconditional love today, even to those who hurt me.
I understand that even though I feel scarred, my emotions don’t have to control my actions. Father, may Your sweet words saturate my mind and direct my thoughts. Help me release the hurt and begin to love as Jesus loves. I want to see my offender through my Savior’s eyes. If I can be forgiven, so can he. I understand there are no levels to your love. We are all your children, and your desire is that none of us should perish.
You teach us to “let the peace that comes from Christ rule in our hearts.” (Col. 3:15) When I forgive in words, allow your Holy Spirit to fill my heart with peace. I pray this peace that only comes from Jesus will rule in my heart, keeping out doubt and questions. And above all, I am thankful. Not just today, not just this week, but always. Thank you for the reminder, “Always be thankful.” (Col. 3:15) With gratitude I can draw closer to you and let go of unforgiveness. With gratitude I can see the person who caused my pain as a child of the Most High God. Loved and accepted. Help me find the compassion that comes with true forgiveness.
And when I see the person who hurt me, bring this prayer back to my remembrance, so I can take any ungodly thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5) And may the confidence of Christ in my heart guide me into the freedom of forgiveness. I praise you for the work you are doing in my life, teaching and perfecting my faith. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. (Kristine Brown)
Prayer for Repentant Heart
Dear Heavenly Father, Let the words of Psalm 51 be my heart’s cry today, “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.” When I feel weighed down by sin in my life, I will find freedom by seeking your forgiveness.
Forgive me for allowing sin to take hold. Thank you for the promise that you will “not reject a broken and repentant heart.” You sent your son Jesus to die on the cross for my sins, so that I may be forgiven. Praise you for that incredible gift! Lord, please accept this prayer of repentance as I turn away from sin and bring my brokenness to you. Thank you for making me whole again.
In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen. (Kristine Brown)
A Prayer for Repentance
Dear Lord, thank you for your forgiveness. Thank you for not abandoning us to our mistakes, but for reaching out instead to bring us home. Help convict me of sin and help me accept your mercy without shame. Thank you for the love you have poured out for me and all of your children. Help me live out of that love today. In Jesus' Name, Amen. (Charles Stanley)
Prayer for Forgiving When You Can't Forget
Dear God, Oh, how we don’t deserve your forgiveness. Day after day, we sin, and we fall short of what you have for us. We are unworthy of your mercy, but you offer it to us new every morning. (Lamentations 3:23)
Thank you, Lord, that when we repent and ask for forgiveness, that you remember our sins no more. (Hebrews 8:12) Lord, although we still remember and may not forget hurt, you have given us the greatest example of forgiveness. You sent your son to walk the same earth we walk to experience the same hurt and betrayal we do, and yet He chose to forgive.
Help us to follow in Jesus’s example. Remind us that prayer is one of our greatest weapons and through continual prayer, praying for our enemies, you will begin to soften our hearts and give us the strength to forgive them. (Alisha Headley)
Short Prayer to Forgive Others
Dear Lord, I thank You for the power of forgiveness, and I choose to forgive everyone who has hurt me. Help me set [name anyone who has offended you] free and release them to You [Romans 12:19]. Help me bless those who have hurt me [Romans 12:14]. Help me walk in righteousness, peace, and joy, demonstrating Your life here on earth. I choose to be kind and compassionate, forgiving others, just as You forgave me [Ephesians 4:32]. In Jesus’ name, amen. (Debbie Przybylski)
Short Prayer to Forgive Yourself
Father, today I ask forgiveness of all the negative and harmful words I have spoken about myself. I do not want to abuse myself in such a way again. Transform my thoughts and let me understand how marvelously you made me. Change my habits so I use my tongue to speak hope and favor upon my life. In Jesus' name. (Sarah Coleman)
A Prayer to Forgive Wrongs
Father, This is the day You have made, we will rejoice and be glad in it. Father, you hold the key to every heart on earth, we do not. Judgment for others is not in our hands, and shouldn’t be on our resumes. As we seek You more each day in prayer and in Your Word, show us how to be forgiving, in Christ. Cleanse us of our tendency to keep records of wrongs and reasons for blame.
Let us not become people who shame others, but show them how to be free through Christ. We want our lives to reflect Your brightness, Your grace, and Your love.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen. (Meg Bucher)
A Prayer for the Unkind Person in Your Life
Lord, you know how my heart is hurting over ____________’s actions toward me. I’m so frustrated and weary of dealing with the hurt she is causing me. Lord, I know you know her heart. And I know that every time I judge her or get frustrated with her, I condemn myself, because I’m not perfectly kind either. Oh Lord, forgive me! Help me to see my sin too. Help me be kind to her even when she is unkind to me. Help me treat her with hospitality and consideration. Help me see her the way you see her, Lord. And Father, will you convict her heart too? Will you transform her more and more into your likeness? Will you help her see how her actions wound? I surrender this relationship to you now, Lord. Take my hurt and hold it close, and help me not need her kindness to be kind in return. In your name I pray, amen. (Nylse Esahc)
A Prayer for Repentance of Angry Words
Father, Your Word has so much to say on the sin of anger, yet we give into this temptation all the time when we are challenged in our selfishness. I repent for sinning against those who have been made in Your image when I did not consider them above myself and allowed my words to cause pain.
This is especially true in my marriage. I have allowed my pride to lead me into unrestrained anger by lashing out and interrupting in our disagreements. Help me to follow Your wisdom of being slow to speak and quick to listen so that anger does not cause me to walk in unrighteous behavior towards my spouse, as well as my brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for Your grace to empower me to walk more Christ-like.
In Jesus’ name, Amen. (Emily Massey)
A Prayer for Freedom from Guilt
Dear Heavenly Father, When I committed my life to Your son Jesus and asked Him to come live in my heart, You forgave me for my past sins. I am grateful for that forgiveness, but sometimes those memories resurface. I feel guilty over any pain I caused and struggle to forgive myself.
Lord, I know Your Word says you “removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” (Psalm 103:12 NLT) Help me to remember this truth when guilt keeps me bound to the problems from my past. Help me to understand I am a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). You removed the old and created something new in me. I give you praise for this awesome gift.
As I go through today and all the days ahead of me, I will look to Your Word for help as I focus on sharing the redeeming love of Jesus. I refuse to stay chained to the person I once was, but instead will embrace freedom through Christ. The grace you gave me, I now choose to give to others. Thank you for unending mercy.
In Jesus’ name, Amen. (Kristine Brown)
A Prayer to Show God's Mercy to Others
Heavenly Father, I praise you for your great mercy. Thank you for sending your Son Jesus to die on the cross for my sins. Thank you for shining your light into my heart and giving me the gift of eternal life. I praise you for your steadfast love and faithfulness to me.
Lord, forgive me for the many times I come to you in prayer, forgetting the mercy you have already shown me. Renew in my heart a deep sense of gratitude for the forgiveness I have in Christ.
Forgive me for all the times I withhold compassion and forgiveness from others. Would you work in my heart and make me more like you? Lord, give me the grace I need to see the people in my life through your eyes. Pour out your compassion into my heart that I may reflect it to others today. Guide my feet in the way of peace. (Betsy de Cruz)
A Prayer for Peace in Relationships
Dear Lord, Thank you for being a loving and forgiving God. I thank you for your example of how to live and walk in peace and forgiveness. I look forward to opportunities to live at peace with everyone. Although the world may teach me to hold a grudge, I choose to follow your way instead. Lord, search my heart, and show me any person that I may have negative feelings towards. I ask for wisdom on how to cultivate peace and walk free from bitterness. Give me a heart for those that I don’t understand and help me to always walk in your love.
Help me to do my part in living at peace with everyone. In Jesus Name. Amen. (Victoria Riollano)
A Prayer for Awareness of Sin
Father, do not let me ever forget the price You paid for my sin. Thank You for the forgiveness and freedom You purchased with Your death on the cross. Bring swift awareness and conviction when I sin. Give me the strength and power to deal with and turn from the sin in my life.
For Your glory and in Your Name I pray, Amen. (Mary Southerland)
Bible Verses About Forgiveness
Matthew 6:14-15 - For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
1 John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Isaiah 1:18 - “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
Micah 7:18-19 - Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
Mark 11:25 - And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Colossians 3:13 - Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Ephesians 4:31-32 - Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Luke 17:3-4 - So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”
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Video prayer content by Ray Pritchard. Video credits for audio, video, photos: Soundstripe, Storyblocks, LightStock, ThinkStock