There are many prayers for forgiveness that we can pray for ourselves and for others around us. None of us are exempt from needing forgiveness. In fact, God’s Word in Romans 3:23 says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”
No one is perfect. We were born into this world with a sinful, fallen nature. None of us can escape the stain of sin–but the beautiful thing is, while we all have sinned, we all can receive forgiveness.
“and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:24
Let’s take a look at how we can receive forgiveness through Christ, and how we can pray prayers of forgiveness for ourselves and for others.
What is Forgiveness?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, forgiveness is “to cease to feel resentment against (an offender), to pardon, to give up resentment of or claim to requital (pay back), and to grant relief from payment of.”
In other words, forgiveness is…
- To pardon an offender
- To give up feelings of resentment towards someone
- Releasing your right to “get even” or pay someone back for wrongdoing
- Granting someone relief of paying a debt
Forgiveness is NOT easy to grant when we have been hurt or wronged–but we desperately need the forgiveness of God. Without it, we would surely perish in our sins! God in his grace and mercy has granted us forgiveness through the sacrifice of Jesus, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, we do have the power to grant forgiveness to others.
What Does Jesus Teach about Forgiveness?
Jesus had a lot to say about forgiveness. In Matthew 5 on the Sermon on the Mount, he taught his followers how we ought to love our enemies through the powerful words of the Beatitudes.
Later on in this sermon he addressed how we ought to interact with others.
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24
In this passage Jesus makes it very clear that reconciliation between members of our family or church community needs to take place before we worship him in spirit and in truth.
When Jesus taught his disciples the Lord’s Prayer, he also included a portion of the prayer on forgiveness.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.…Matthew 6:11-12
According to this beautiful prayer, forgiveness is a two-way street. We must humbly seek forgiveness from God, and he will strengthen us to forgive those who have sinned against us.
Prayers for Forgiveness for our Sins
Lord, I come before you right now asking for forgiveness for my sins. I praise you for sending Jesus as an atoning sacrifice for my sins, so that I may experience forgiveness and reconciliation through Christ. Your Word says that if I confess my sins to you, you are faithful and just and will cleanse me from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
Just like David, my sins have been stained in scarlet–but you have washed my sins away and made me whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7). Create in me a clean heart Lord, and renew a right spirit within me that seeks to serve and honor you. Amen.
How can we Forgive Others?
There are times when it seems virtually impossible to forgive those who have hurt us. Even when we do attempt to reconcile and forgive others, the pain from our wounded hearts takes time to heal–and some relationships are never the same. How can we genuinely forgive those who have hurt us? This is definitely not something we can do in our own strength.
Thankfully, we have the power of the Holy Spirit who gives us everything we need to live a life of love, grace and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).
We certainly don’t want to live our lives filled with anger and bitterness like the parable of the unforgiving servant, who refused to forgive one of his servants after he was granted pardon for his great debt by his master. The best way we can live our lives free from the poisonous root of bitterness and unforgiveness is to live in complete surrender to God.
Remember when Jesus was on the cross? In the midst of his agony and pain, he managed to utter these powerful words regarding his offenders:
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”Luke 23:34
The same power that raised Jesus from the grave lives within us–and through the grace and power of God, we too can forgive those who have hurt us.
A Prayer of Forgiveness for Others
Lord, please help me to forgive those who have hurt me and have sinned against me. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, I can choose to live free of bitterness and anger over what others have done to me.
Help me to release them into your hands, and heal the wounds of my heart. Because you have forgiven me, I can make the choice to forgive others and live in peace, joy and freedom. Amen.
How to Forgive Yourself
Have you ever beaten yourself up for something you have done? Once you have asked God to forgive you for the wrong you have done, you don’t have to continue to replay that situation in your mind and live in defeat. Once you have asked for forgiveness, it is done!
I just love the passage in Psalm 103:11-12 that says it so beautifully,
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Praise the Lord that he has removed our sins from us forever! God is not a forgetful God–but he chooses to forget our sins.
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”Hebrews 8:12
If God chooses to not remember our sins, then why do we constantly remind ourselves of them? There is NO condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1). We serve a forgiving God, and we can walk in true freedom and forgiveness each day!
A Prayer of Forgiveness from Psalm 103
Lord, I praise you for your grace and forgiveness in my life. I praise your holy name, for you have forgiven my sins and have healed me of all diseases (vs 3). Thank you for redeeming my life from the pit, and for crowning me with your love and compassion.
You have satisfied my desires with good things, and you have renewed my youth like the eagle’s (vs 5). I praise you that you are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love (vs 8).
Thank you that you will not accuse me or harbor your anger against me, nor will you treat me as my sins deserve or repay me according to my iniquities (vs 9,10). I praise you that as high as the heavens are above the earth, your love reaches even higher! As far as the east is from the west, you have removed my sins and transgressions (vs 11-12). Hallelujah!
From everlasting to everlasting, you are God–and your love will forever be with those who fear your name. Thank you Lord, for your compassion, and may your favor and righteousness rest me upon me and my household, now, and forever. Amen!
Free Printable Prayer on Forgiveness
Feel free to download this free printable prayer on forgiveness based on Psalm 103, and may you walk in freedom knowing that you are forgiven!
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