There’s never a perfect time to turn over a new leaf in life, but as a Christian, it is always necessary to offer forgiveness. We are meant to show God’s love and Christ’s light to all. Yet forgiveness can be difficult, sometimes seemingly impossible in our sinful and broken world. Are you struggling to find the words to forgive others, whether that’s a fussy child, someone you’ve been on bad terms with, or even yourself? Read below for prayers for forgiveness that can help you bring everything to Him in this new phase of your life.
A Prayer for Readiness to Forgive
Prayer is from My Prayer Book, copyright © 2021 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Lord Jesus, I ask, as Peter did: How often must I forgive those who sin against me and offend me? O Lord, if I am to forgive seventy times seven, then the grace and the will to do so can only come from You. My sinful heart is resentful and often filled with bitterness against others. Often I have been hurt and sinned against. I must confess to You, Lord Jesus, that I do not find it easy to forgive and forget. Help me, O Lord.
I know You have forgiven me times without number. That is why I am coming to You, asking for help. Enable me in all sincerity of heart to say as You did on the cross: “Father, forgive them,” and then help me to forgive as You have forgiven me more than seventy times seven. Hear my plea, gracious Lord. Amen.
A Prayer for Forgiving Enemies
Prayer is from Blessings and Prayers for Women, copyright © 2004 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
O almighty, everlasting God, through Your own Son, our blessed Lord, You have commanded us to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate us, and to pray for those who persecute us. We pray that by Your gracious visitation all our enemies may be led to true repentance and may have the same love and be of one accord and one mind and heart with us, and with Your whole Church; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. Amen.
A Prayer for Forgiving a Difficult Child
Prayer is from Blessings and Prayers for Parents, copyright © 2014 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Lord God, You called the Israelites Your stubborn and rebellious children. I am just as stubborn and rebellious as they were. And now, I see from Your perspective how hurtful it can be. Forgive me, Lord, for the times I have disregarded Your will for my life and followed my own sinful desires. Lord, I need Your help as I care for my child. Give me the patience You have for me. Enable me to speak Your truth in love. It can be difficult to show my child the Law of what we should do and the Gospel of what You have done for us. Give me wisdom so that my words are true and clear and patient and loving. Uplift me when I am exhausted with this difficult task, and comfort me with Your forgiveness and love. Amen.
A Prayer for Forgiveness of Personal Anger
Prayer is from Teens Pray, copyright © 2002 Concordia Publishing House All rights reserved.
Oh, God, I know You know about anger. You were angry when Your people of the Old Testament refused to trust You. You were angry when they turned to other gods. You had every right to be angry. You have every right to be angry with me too. I sin often. My sins, together with the sins of the world, caused the suffering and death of Jesus. I’m sorry for that. And now I wonder if my anger is sinful. Your anger was always right and fair. Mine isn’t always that way. Right now, I’m angry because _________________. If my anger is fair, help me to forgive as You forgive me. If my anger is not fair, forgive me and help me seek forgiveness from anyone who has been hurt by my anger. Most of all, Lord, make me angry at sin and the devil. Let me hate both and seek only Your presence. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
A Prayer to Give Thanks for the Forgiveness of Sins
O eternal and merciful God, I owe You great thanks and give it to You. When I came, You did not cast me away (John 6:37). Instead, You immediately received me and with great mercy forgave me all my sins. Kindest Father, I was that prodigal child who squandered his inheritance through extravagant living (Luke 15:11). I polluted the gifts of nature. I rejected the gifts of grace. I deprived myself of the gifts of glory and eternal life. I was destitute and hungry. When I hungered, You fed me with the heavenly bread of grace. I was naked and destitute of anything good. You clothed me again with a robe of righteousness and made me rich. I was lost and condemned, but because of Your grace, You gave me eternal salvation. Having mercy on me, You attended to me. You embraced and kissed me (Luke 15:20) by sending Your beloved Son, who is by Your side (John 1:18), and the Holy Spirit, who is the kiss of Your mouth (Song of Songs 1:2).
The Son and the Spirit are the greatest witnesses to Your immeasurable love. You clothed me with the finest robe by restoring original innocence to me. You placed a ring on my hand by sealing me with the Holy Spirit. You shod me with shoes by equipping me with the Gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15). For my sake, You killed the fatted calf by offering up to death for me Your beloved Son. You feasted and delighted me by restoring joy to my heart and true peace to my conscience (Psalm 51:14). I was dead, but through You, I returned to life. I wandered, but through You, I returned to the right path. I was destroyed by poverty, but through You, I returned to the wealth I had previously enjoyed.
Polluted by so many sins, covered by so many faults, corrupted by so many iniquities, in Your righteous judgment, You could have rejected me. But Your mercy abounded more than my sins. Your goodness was greater than all my iniquities. How often I closed the door of my heart to You when You knocked. Therefore, by Your righteous judgment, You could also have closed to me the door of Your grace at which I was knocking. How often I have closed my ears so I would not hear Your voice when You called. Therefore, by Your righteous judgment, You could also have closed Your ears so You would not hear my voice sighing for You.
But Your grace was more abundant than all my transgressions and faults. You received me with out-stretched arms (Isaiah 65:2). You swept away all my iniquities as a cloud (Isaiah 44:22), and You cast all my sins behind Your back (Isaiah 38:17). You remember my sins no more and receive me with the full embrace of Your mercy. For this immeasurable kindness, I will give You thanks throughout eternity. Amen.
Prayer is from Meditations on Divine Mercy, copyright © 1992, 2003 M. C. Harrison. Published by Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
No matter what you find yourself needing to ask forgiveness for, there’s a prayer book to help you find the words to bring it to God.