Forgiveness is at the center of the Christian faith. Lacking the ability or the desire to forgive ourselves or others is impossible, because the Spirit of God, who made a perfect way to forgive, is gracious enough to share His characteristics with His children.
God asks us to repent (turn away from) our sins so He can forgive us because He desires to connect with us: this is called reconciliation. Likewise, He desires us to live in the freedom forgiveness brings. When we forgive, we are free from the hold our unforgiveness has on us.
Prayer of Salvation – The Forgiveness of Sins
Prayer is the key to this reconciliation (this forgiveness of our sins) happening. If you’ve never prayed and asked God to forgive you, then try praying this prayer, and really try to connect the words you say aloud connect with your heart – the deepest part of who you are – and connect with God.
“Lord Jesus, I have lived my life my way for so long, and I know that my way cannot save me. I am a sinner. Please forgive me of my sins, come into my life, and make me who you want me to be. Become my Lord and Savior. I believe you are who you said you are – the son of God. I believe you love me. Show me more of who you are. Come into my life and make me new.”
Prayer for Forgiving Others
Forgiving others is vital. Jesus paid the ultimate price for you and He asks us in our own way to follow after Him.
“Take up your cross and follow me.” – Matthew 16:24-26
The apostle Paul knew he’d wronged many. He participated in the murder of Stephen, hunted down other Christians before he became a believer and by doing so persecuted Jesus himself. (Acts 9:4)
Paul says in Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Sometimes forgiving others is difficult. Pray this prayer, and again connect it to the person you need to forgive and ask God to help you when you do not feel like forgiving.
“God, thank you for forgiving me. You ask us to clothe ourselves in love and to be kind to others. I know that kindness also means I must forgive those who wrong me. I may feel pain from what happened, but those circumstances and my feelings do not rule me, You do. Please help me forgive like you do. If I am faithful to say the words, ‘I forgive’, help my heart mean it. Help me find the compassion I need in You so I can love even my enemies. Amen”
The Prayer to Forgive Yourself
Sometimes the one we are hardest on is ourselves. If God knows us better than we do and He forgives us, then we must learn to forgive ourselves. Try this prayer – and pray it until it becomes heartfelt.
“Father forgive me for saying untrue and ugly things about myself. Forgive me for how harshly I treat myself. Show me how to relinquish all the pain and fear that rules my thoughts about myself so I can live in the freedom You have for me. Change my heart and renew my mind. Help me believe in me like You do. Amen.”
Bible Verses on 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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