Prayers for Repentance and Forgiveness of Sins

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A prayer of true repentance invites God’s forgiveness, healing, and restoration.

Sometimes we need practical help to get from Point A to Point B. 

At times the desired journey seems insurmountable.

Other times we don’t know where to begin, let alone devise a plan to arrive at our destination. 

After I wrote the post, The Importance of Repentance According to the Bible I was contacted by readers who described their difficulty in how to get from point A to B when it comes to repentance and restoration.

If you can relate to any of the following concerns, this post is for you:

  • You struggle with beating yourself up with words of self-condemnation, even though you’ve already confessed and repented from your sins.
  • You want to be free from the guilt, shame, and condemnation of your sins and desire the assurance of God’s forgiveness.
  • You’ve never prayed a prayer of repentance before, and you’re not sure what it entails.
  • You know you need forgiveness, but you’re not sure exactly how to ask for and receive it.
  • You know that you need Jesus Christ in your life, but you have no idea how to approach Him.

Who needs to repent?

The repentance prayers in this post are for two groups of people, and every person reading my words falls into one of them:

  • Born again believers in Jesus.
  • Individuals who have not surrendered their lives to Jesus.

Followers of the Lord Jesus Christ

The first group of people are those who have come to our Heavenly Father in recognition that they’re a sinner in need of a Savior. 

There was a moment in his or her life when they approached the Lord with a contrite heart, repented from their evil ways, and surrendered their life to the Lordship of His son, Jesus Christ. 

Their former way of life is gone, his or her eternal life is secure, and they have the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Every follower of Jesus is a walking testimony of 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!”

The following statements are true for all individuals in Christ before they knew Him as their Savior and after:

  • They were once spiritually dead and they are now alive with the indwelling Holy Spirit. (Eph. 2:5)
  • They were once an object of wrath and now they are a co-heir with Jesus Christ. (Eph. 2:3, Rom. 8:16-17)
  • Before coming to know Christ, everyone was a slave to sin and followed the cravings of their flesh. In Christ, you are able to yield to the indwelling Holy Spirit to overcome temptation. (Eph. 2:3, Gal. 5:16-18)
  • Before knowing Jesus everyone pursued an evil way. In Christ, an individual has the ability to bear fruit to the glory of our awesome God. (Rom. 3:23, Jn. 15:8)

Individuals who have trusted in Jesus Christ for their salvation have the indwelling Holy Spirit and a secure place in the Kingdom of God. They also have a past, and though completely forgiven, they may struggle with certain aspects of their past.

It’s possible for individuals who have been declared forgiven by our Lord God to have a stronghold that has taken root in their mind, preventing him or her from walking in freedom.

See if you identify with any of the following examples of a stronghold that a follower of Jesus could struggle with:

  • God has declared you forgiven… but you don’t feel forgiven. Sometimes you may even doubt if you’re truly forgiven.
  • God does not hold your past against you… yet the enemy haunts and taunts you with memories of your past sins and lifestyle before you came to know Jesus, and you beat yourself up when he does.
  • God has declared you righteous… but you can’t shake feelings of shame and guilt. You don’t feel worthy to be called righteous.
  • Scripture says you abide in Christ’s steadfast love…  yet you don’t consider yourself worthy of His love. 
  • God’s Word describes you as His handiwork… but you view yourself as the opposite of a beautiful masterpiece. You may see yourself as ugly, worthless, or a screw-up and often remind yourself of your shortcomings. Maybe you even mentally call yourself names or speak berating, harsh words over yourself.
  • Your feelings, opinions, or thoughts about yourself do not define you!
  • You are not defined by your past.
  • No sin can declare who you are.

The Word of God alone has the authority to define your identity in Christ!

The lies in each one of the above scenarios are indicative of a stronghold in your life. In other words, a belief that is inconsistent with the Truth of Scripture.

You can find a step-by-step process on how to break free from strongholds in this article. 

Perhaps you can identify with each and every one of the battles above. If so, my heart goes out to you and I can empathize with you, as I once struggled in this way…  I had a deeply rooted issue of insecurity.   

If any of the above lies hit home for you, stop right now and pray with me:

Prayer to repent from self-condemnation and beating myself up

O Lord, I come before you declaring that your word is truth. I ask for forgiveness for not aligning my beliefs with what your Word says. I have believed lies about myself and who I am in my relationship with you. Forgive me for beating myself up and speaking words of condemnation over myself. I desire to align my thinking with what your Word says, so I ask that you allow your Word to renew my mind as I strive to have my thoughts and beliefs in alignment with your Truth. Open my eyes and ears to see when I am falling into the pattern of beating myself up, and help me to stop this destructive pattern. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen

The second prayer in this post is for a child of God who desires to confess and repent from a specific sin or a pattern of sin in His or her life. 

Prayer for repentance from a specific sin:

O God I come before you with a humble heart in recognition that you are holy, and I stand in awe of you. Thank you for the honor to know and love you. Father, I ask for forgiveness for ___________________. I recognize that I have sinned against you, and I desire to turn away from these wicked ways. Help me to surrender my will and way and follow yours. Give me the wisdom and strength to walk in step with the Holy Spirit. You alone are able to transform my heart, mind, and life. I eagerly anticipate that you will move in and through me in a way that will bring healing and restoration. It is in your precious and holy name that I pray Jesus, Amen.

No child of God needs to be a slave to any sin.

Once you confess a specific sin to the Lord and repent from it you can choose to deliberately turn away from that sin and yield to the Holy Spirit when you are tempted.


Individuals who have not surrendered their lives to Jesus

You may recognize the existence of God but have never yielded to His Lordship over your life. 

Believing God exists isn’t enough. 

It is one thing to recognize the existence of God, believe in Him, and identify Him as being the Lord of the Earth, but it’s an altogether different matter to declare Him to be the Lord of YOUR life

There’s a distinction between believing in God and belonging to Him.

Surrender is the key.

The words of James 2:19 illustrate this truth better than I ever could, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shutter.”

Satan and his demons believe in God, but they don’t belong to Him. 

Nor do they serve Him.

If you believe in the existence of God but have never yielded to Him and entrusted your life to Him, it would be my utmost honor to walk you through a prayer that places you in a posture of humility before our God who loves you fiercely and desires that you come to Him.

Perhaps you recognize God as the Lord of all Creation but have trusted in your own good deeds to get you into heaven. 

This was my mindset before I knew what the Bible says about how a person can have eternal life with Jesus. 

I used to think my life was a test.

I thought I had to be “a good person”. Be kind. Uphold morality. Do good deeds to help cancel out my bad stuff, and hope that when I come to the end of my days I’ll earn a passing grade to walk through the pearly gates. 

How wrong I was. 

Ephesians 2:8-9 describes this truth better than I ever could:

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Scripture tells us that salvation comes to us by God’s grace alone, by faith alone. 

  • No amount of good deeds will get you into heaven. 
  • Your religion or denomination will not declare you righteous or justified in God’s sight.
  • Your salvation cannot be earned or bargained for.
  • You cannot get into heaven based on your family lineage or ancestry.

If my words resonate with you, I pray 2 Peter 3:9 pierces your heart with its truth:

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

Our merciful God desires you to come to repentance exactly as you are. No need to clean up your act first – it won’t work anyway even if you tried.

As John MacArthur says, ” Because fallen man is morally and spiritually bankrupt, with no redeeming merit at all before God, nothing we can possibly do in himself and by his own power can make him right and acceptable before the Lord. It is for that very reason that salvation has always been possible solely through the pure graciousness of God, working through a faithful response to his grace.”

If you feel the Holy Spirit drawing you, don’t put this decision off for later. 

Truth is, none of us know if later will ever come. We’re not guaranteed our next breath. 

If you feel the Lord drawing you to Himself, know that God’s grace awaits as you call on His mighty name. 

Pray with me

Prayer for salvation in Jesus Christ

Dear Lord, I come before you today in recognition that not only are you Lord of the universe, but I want you to be the Lord of my life. Forgive me for the sin of pride –  I know I’m a sinner, and apart from you there is no salvation. I desire to serve you and you alone, Jesus. Transform my life, Father, and reveal yourself to me in personal and powerful ways. It is in the mighty name of Jesus Christ I pray these things, Amen

If you prayed that prayer, please tell someone! A family member, a trusted friend, a pastor, or someone you know who follows Jesus so they can rejoice with, encourage, and walk alongside you as you begin your journey with Jesus!

I’d also love it if you would leave a comment here at the end of this post so I can rejoice with you and pray for you as well – all to the glory of God!

Heartfelt prayer is what God desires – not eloquence or lengthy prayers that ramble on from the root of pride. I encourage you to keep the lines of communication open with the Lord and talk to Him! Don’t be intimidated, just pour out your heart to Him!

These 12 Prayer Points to Get Closer to God will help you grow closer in your relationship with Him.

A simple prayer, offered in sincerity always pleases our God. 

pin prayers for repentance and forgiveness

Encouraging Bible verses regarding confessing of sins and repentance

God is faithful to forgive. These verses demonstrate His abundant mercy and grace.

  • “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

God will not hold your sins against you after you’ve repented.

If you struggle with holding onto feelings of guilt, shame, and condemnation, take this verse to heart – God does not hold those sins against you! And if the Son of God has declared you forgiven and free – who are we to condemn ourselves? Or anyone else for that matter! 

  • “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12)

God will not hold your past sins against you or treat you as guilty.

  • “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36

Our God does not forgive in part – His forgiveness is complete and whole.

You are forgiven and free after you sincerely confess and repent from your sins.

  • “For the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to Him.” (2 Chron. 30:9)

Our forgiving God will never turn you away when you seek Him desiring forgiveness.

When you call out to Him, He will answer you.

You can take that to the bank. Every. Single. Time.

Christ Jesus offers forgiveness and freedom in response to a prayer of repentance.

Related posts to Prayers for Repentance and Forgiveness of Sins:

The Importance of Repentance According to the Bible

Prayers to Get Closer to God and Grow in Your Relationship to Him

How to Overcome Spiritual Strongholds

How to Overcome Insecurity Biblically

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