Yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended, and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. (2 Corinthians 7:9-10)
There are plenty of times when we do things that are wrong whether it was intentional or accidental. As a result, people around us get hurt. Sometimes, the person we cause pain to is ourselves. When this happens, we can seek forgiveness by repenting.
Repentance prayers express our remorse and desire not to make the same mistake again. They allow us to connect with God and make peace with Him and ourselves.
10 Repentance Prayers for a Contrite Heart
Here are 10 repentance prayers to inspire you. You can use them as is or customize them to fit your situation.
#1. An Everyday Prayer of Atonement
Heavenly and Almighty God, I come before you humbled and sorrowful, aware of my sin, and ready to repent. Lord, forgive me, for I have sinned before you. Wash away my sin, purify me, and help me turn from this sin.
Lead me to walk in your way instead, leaving behind my old life and starting a new one with you. Lord, you are loving and compassionate. Shower me with your mercy.
All this I pray through your Son Jesus Christ who came to save us from our sin. Amen.
#2. A Catholic Prayer of Repentance From the Franciscan Prayerbook
O almighty, eternal, most just and merciful God, I prostrate myself before Thy face, humbly beseeching thee, who alone is good, all good, wholly good, ever good, that remembering the most bitter passion and death of Thy only-begotten Son, and the most sorrowful compassion of His immaculate mother, Thou wouldst deign to look with an eye of pity upon this most wretched of Thy creatures.
So many treasures of nature Thou hast given me and consoled me with, and I have not heeded Thy word and commands. So many blessings of grace Thou hast lavished upon me, and I have squandered them in vice and iniquitous selfishness. So bountiful has been Thy mercies of forgiveness and pardon to me, and I have rebelled and betrayed Thee yet again.
Truly, am I not worthy of Thy consideration; nay rather, do I deserve eternal damnation. Even the troubles, sacrifices, and difficulties of a thousand most bitter lifetimes are not sufficient to atone for my wickedness. Truly am I worthy, not of Thee, but of hell alone, of damnation and eternal torments. Yet I, like an impudent swine, do still complain and murmur.
Daring not to raise my eyes unto Thee, who are infinite goodness and most exacting justice, I beseech Thee, through the merits of the passion and death of Thy most beloved Son, who for my sake became a slave unto death, death on a cross, upon which in the last moments of His most bitter agony,
He didst bestow upon me His own most beloved mother, Thy daughter by grace and election. In virtue of their merits, by which I have been so many times succored in my great necessities, I beseech Thee hear this my petition.
Have mercy upon me! Have great mercy upon me! For without Thee, I can do nothing worthy of Thy consideration. I who am nothing, and by sin even less than nothing. A wretch, a swine, a cesspool of every vice and iniquity!
Therefore, I beseech Thee, O most blessed Trinity, to shed the fire of Thy merciful love upon this most frigid heart, to let shine upon this most darkened mind the light of the Son, in whom alone is every grace and truth. Have pity on me, most merciful God, and regard not my sins and offenses, but in Thy mercy forgive me yet again, and grant me the graces to serve Thee now in fidelity and truth.
I am not worthy to serve Thee, but Thou dost deserve all my service. In the name of Jesus, Thy mercy, therefore, I beseech Thee. In the name of Mary, I pray. Amen.
#3. A Prayer of Forgiveness From Psalms 25:6-7
Remember, Lord, your compassion and mercy, which you showed long ago. Do not recall the sins and failings of my youth. In your mercy, remember me, Lord, because of your goodness.
#4. A Prayer for the Forgiveness of Sins
Lord Jesus, You opened the eyes of the blind, healed the sick, forgave the sinful woman, and, after Peter’s denial, confirmed him in your love. Listen to my prayer: forgive all my sins, renew your passion in my heart, and help me to live in perfect unity with my fellow Christians so that I may proclaim your saving power to all the world. Amen.
#5. A Prayer For a Sinner
Lord Jesus, You chose to be called the friend of sinners. Your saving, death, and resurrection free me from my sins. May your peace take root in my heart and bring forth a harvest of love, holiness, and truth. Amen.
#6. A Child’s Simple Prayer of Repentance
Jesus, I believe you love me. Please forgive me for my sins. Help me to be a better person. Amen.
#7. A Prayer of Penance
My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you, whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, suffered and died for us. In His name, my God, have mercy. Amen.
#8. A Daily Prayer for Forgiveness
Heavenly Father, thank you for faithfully forgiving my sins when I confess them to you. Thank you for the gift of repentance and forgiveness. Through the help of the Holy Spirit, I can fight against sin.
I pray you’ll help me turn away from the sins I’m struggling with in my life. Forgive me for committing these sins. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
#9. A Prayer for Deep Repentance
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me a heart of flesh and allowing me to have a relationship with you. Thank you for forgiving me of my sins. I repent of my sins. I choose to turn away from my sins and turn toward you.
In particular, I pray you’d rid me of selfishness and help me be more selfless. Help me be more like Jesus. In the Bible, I see that Jesus came to serve and not be served. Help me be more like Him. Help me think less of myself and think of others more. I trust you’re able to help me with this. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
#10. A Prayer of Remorse and a Request for Guidance
Dearest Father, my deepest thanks for allowing me to communicate with you daily. I pray you’ll help me walk in step with the Holy Spirit today. If I fall into sin, pick me back up and help me turn away from that sin.
I confess my sins to you and trust you will give me the strength to fight back. I turn away from the sins I commit daily and toward you, Lord. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
A Few Parting Words
In his infinite grace, God can forgive all sins but sincere repentance is necessary. These prayers will help you become familiar with the humility and confession you need to reconcile with God.