We can find it difficult to forgive ourselves for many reasons. Growing up, some of us were punished harshly for failure. Hence, we are not accustomed to the idea of forgiveness. We may see God as vengeful and angry, and dare not forgive ourselves. Alternatively, we don’t feel worthy of forgiveness due to childhood abuse or neglect. Perhaps we are perfectionists who won’t settle for imperfections, even in ourselves etc. Here is a prayer to lead us into forgiving ourselves based on what God’s Word tells us, not what we tell ourselves.
A prayer to forgive ourselves
“Dear Heavenly Father,
I confess that something seems to hold me back from forgiving myself.
As I pause and still my heart, I invite the Holy Spirit to convict me of anything I have yet to confess and ask for Your forgiveness for. (Please pause here and allow God to work in your heart and lead you to repentance e.g. bitterness, judgment, slander, gossip, complacency, cheating, etc.)
Psalm 139:23-24 ESV Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
Thank you, Father, that You wash away my sins and make me spiritually clean as I confess. I welcome Your refreshing redemption!
1 John 1:9 ESV If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Acts 3:19-20 ESV Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus,
As I meditate on Psalm 51 now, please remind me of Your unfailing goodness, mercy, and love. (Click here to go to Psalm 51.)
Father, I have done some things that I am still ashamed of and am afraid to bring out into the light because I am afraid that people will reject me. I am anxious about facing up to the consequences of my sinful actions. I confess the pangs of guilt and shame in my heart that still torment me. Please help me turn all the evil of my past into good. I can’t do it on my own, but You can do it all.
Ephesians 5:8-14 ESV for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light…
Genesis 50:20 ESV As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
Please forgive me for the times that I ignorantly inflated my sin to be bigger than Your grace and love for me.
Thank you that You don’t reject me, Father. You welcome me back into Your arms like the father in the parable of the prodigal son, who welcomes his son back even though he was still covered in the filth of a smelly pig pen. There is nothing I have done that You will not forgive me for when I repent and turn back to You*. Thank you that You accept me for who I am, right in the imperfect state I am in.
Luke 15:17-20 ESV “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
Perhaps my fear of rejection is rooted in the lack of forgiveness I have towards others who have rejected me in the past. Is there anyone I need to forgive?
You witnessed everything that happened to me, oh Lord. Today, I cast my anxieties to You, oh God, and confess all my grievances to You. (Please take the time to let God know how you felt.)
Your Word says that You will call each one of us to account for our careless words and actions on earth on Judgement Day. Therefore, in obedience to Your will, I release my judgments of these people to You and forgive them in Jesus’ name, so that I too may be released from Your coming judgment of me.
Matthew 12:35-37 ESV The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Matthew 7:1-2 ESV “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.
Father, I confess I’ve made myself various inner vows that I will… (please list your inner vows, some examples include “I will not disappoint”, “I must not fail”, “I will always make things work out,” “I will always be strong,” etc.) Hence, I now judge myself harshly whenever I break my own “laws.” Satan has used these beliefs to accuse me of failure, weakness, stupidity, and worthlessness. (See, Inner vows must be revoked.)
Revelation 12:10 ESV And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.
Today, I renounce all these inner vows in Jesus’ name and rebuke Satan for all the mental torment he has given me as a “critical inner voice”. I choose to follow God’s commandments instead and invite the Holy Spirit to lead me into all wisdom and truth from God.
John 16:13-14 ESV When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you
I will not seek to be perfect in my own eyes but acceptable in Yours. I do so by humbling myself before You and boasting of my weaknesses so that Your power and glory will shine powerfully through me. I will turn my shameful past into a testimony that glorifies God!
2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Isaiah 50:7 ESV But the Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.
Whenever Satan tries to torment me with flashbacks of my past, I will remember that You, oh God, have already erased my sins and remember them no more. Therefore, I will rebuke my enemy for his temptations to grieve over past incidents that God no longer remembers after I have confessed them.
Isaiah 43:25 ESV “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.
Father, there are also areas of sin that I still find hard to overcome. I feel like I am disgracing You and I don’t know how You tolerate my sinful patterns! Yet Your Word says that there is no condemnation for anyone in Jesus Christ. Thank you for your great compassion and understanding towards me in my deepest struggles. You don’t give up on me, so I will hold on to the hope I have in Jesus.
Romans 8:1 ESV There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Romans 15:13 ESV May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Romans 12:12 ESV Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Therefore, I praise You that I am covered in Your grace and can seek Your continued forgiveness 10 million times, until You lead me to a breakthrough. I cannot overcome my flesh on my own strength, and invite the Holy Spirit to lead me. In the meantime, Father, please comfort me and reassure me of Your unfailing love.
2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
Micah 7:18-20 NLT Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people? You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love. Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! You will show us your faithfulness and unfailing love as you promised…
Father, Satan has tried to convince me that I don’t deserve Your forgiveness, and I have been drowning in self-accusation, shame, and a twisted sense of self-righteousness, none of which are from my gracious, good, gentle, patient and perfect Heavenly Father. The internal torment has been stirred up by the devil!
The truth is, no one on earth has ever deserved Jesus’ sacrifice in the first place. Your forgiveness and redemption is based on Your perfect character, not mine. How I praise You!
Romans 5:7-8 ESV For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Today, I forgive myself for the sins I have judged myself for, confessing that I don’t have the right to judge myself. Only Jesus has that right. Please forgive me for judging myself. I release my life, my outcomes, my relationships, and my past to Your loving hands to redeem. I will look towards the outcomes of my life story that You are writing, not how it began in sin, but how it will go on to give you glory You deserve.
John 5:22 ESV For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son,
Ecclesiastes 7:8 ESV Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
I praise You for giving me life and giving me the opportunity to bring You glory.
In Jesus’ name, amen.“
*Except for the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit – Matthew 12:31-32.
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