POWERFUL PRAYER OF FORGIVENESS FOR YOURSELF.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” —1 John 1:9.
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Sometimes in life, mistakes are made that leave us sad, frustrated and ashamed. Our own actions hold the unfortunate power to leave us broken and downtrodden, yet redemption is the centerpiece of the Bible. The New Testament makes it clear that Jesus’ forgiveness is available to anyone who seeks it.
In “Eleanor’s Bench,” those facing Eleanor in her courtroom are at risk of facing large reprecussions for their misguided actions. Eleanor must decide if they’re willing to change and give them a second chance to right their mistakes or if they require further disciplinary action. Many times, we see Eleanor choose to give them a chance to show they can redeem themselves.
So, when life gets complicated and mistakes are made, we can turn to God to find the power and guidance to pick up the pieces and move forward. That process begins by admitting our errors and asking God to help us overcome shame and frustration. Here’s a sample prayer of forgiveness to help yourself if and when you make a mistake:
Dear Lord, please forgive me for my sins [consider inserting details on specific situation]. I recognize that I made a mistake. I know that You forgive me, but I also ask that You help me to cope with the emotions I’m experiencing as a result of my error. Please guide me, sustain me and help heal me from the pain and shame that I am experiencing. Help me to remember that I am a child of God, and give me the power to make it through this season. In the name of Your son Jesus, I pray, amen.
PRAYER OF FORGIVENESS FOR FRIENDS OR FAMILY
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” — Colossians 3:13
As human beings, we are prone to experience joys and pains. Unfortunately, it’s sometimes friends and loved ones who hurt us. Considering the nature of these relationships, some incidents can leave a deep wound, threatening to uproot friendships and harm family dynamics.
In “God’s Country Song,” Noah is estranged from his father after leaving home to pursue his dreams of becoming a country music artist at an early age. Noah resents his father’s evident disapproval of his choices and is hurt by his father’s lack of support. It’s only when both Noah and his father take the time to learn more about one another and listen that they’re truly able to forgive one another for these deep wounds.
When this happens, it’s best to turn to God to ask for help in finding forgiveness for friends and family. After all, these relationships matter. The below prayer for forgiveness will help you rely on God to discover the healing and forgiveness you truly need.
Lord, please help me to remember the power of forgiveness, and please help me to extend this to [insert name(s)]. I know what it means to forgive, and I know all of the things You have forgiven me for, but the pain sometimes makes it difficult to forget — and, at moments, to forgive.
This is especially difficult due to my love for this person [or these people]. Please help me to move past what was said and done by filling my heart with forgiveness for [insert name(s)].
Please help me to focus on the importance of our relationship, and give us all strength to get back to a stronger place. In the name of Your son Jesus, I pray, amen.
SHORT PRAYER TO FORGIVE OTHERS
Dear Lord, I thank You for the power of forgiveness and 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.
PSALM 51: A BIBLICAL PRAYER FOR FORGIVENESS
‘In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” — Ephesians 1:7 (NIV)
The Bible is filled with stories of people who have sinned — and have found redemption. In Psalm 51, we see King David’s remorse for committing adultery with Bathsheba and for having her husband, Uriah, killed. Read the verses and consider the areas in your own life where healing prayers for forgiveness from God are desperately needed:
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. — Psalm 51:1-15
STEPS TO TRUE FORGIVENESS
1. Acknowledge the pain.
Working through pain can only happen once you admit you’ve been hurt. And acknowledging this can intensify the feelings. Tears, feelings of resentment and ruminating thoughts are a good indicator that something’s wrong. Don’t numb yourself or “stuff” the emotion down, as that cuts off the process of forgiving others before it’s even begun.
2. Think through things.
Try writing down what happened in a journal, or share with a trusted friend. Admit that what happened makes you feel sad or angry, and be honest about what emotions are rising up in you, even if it epitomizes unforgiveness and you think you shouldn’t feel that way.
3. Imagine being on the other side.
Think about a time when you have had to ask for forgiveness; how did it make you feel? When have you wronged another person, and did they extend forgiveness to you, or withhold it? The Bible directs us to do to others what we would have them do to us (Matthew 7:12) and so it can be helpful to put ourselves in their shoes for a moment.
4. Remember God’s forgiveness
If we have been forgiven so much, how then can we hold onto grievances committed against us? This is another step in the process and doesn’t mean that you must be ready at this point to voice your forgiveness to your offender. This may not ever be possible, as the person may no longer be living. You can still forgive someone without that forgiveness being accepted.
5. Reflect on our Biblical command
Jesus stressed the importance of forgiving others on many occasions and even included it in the Lord’s prayer, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Pray that this would hit home in your heart and that your decision to obey would force your emotions to catch up.
6. Let go of the hurt.
The devil is an expert at getting a foothold when we have made a choice to forgive but the wound is still sensitive. Don’t allow yourself to replay the offense over and over; let go of the pain and determine that you are going to choose to move forward. This is where prayer is essential as on our own we are tempted to wander back to unforgiveness.
7. Continue to forgive.
Forgiveness is more than just saying a prayer and moving on. It’s a serious decision that you make over and over again. The process will most likely be uncomfortable and painful, but it will always be worth it in the end.
8. Pray for the person who hurt you.
In Matthew 5:44 Jesus commands us “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Ask God to reveal his love to your offender in your heart, and for him to dissolve negative emotions. Is there any more powerful witness of God’s transforming grace than someone who can display true forgiveness to the “unforgivable”?
With promises found in Scriptures like Philippians 4:13 (“I can do all this through Him who gives me strength”) and Romans 12:21 (“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”), we know that we can depend on God to give us the grace to live out forgiveness. Make the right choice – start a journey of forgiveness today, praying for the Lord to equip you for this difficult but eternally rewarding task.
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