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How To Pray To God For Forgiveness Of Sins

If one would claim that he or she is without sin, then he or she has already sinned. The Bible is clear, as it’s written in Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. It is why Christ had to come in the first place—to save us from the clutches and consequences of our sins, restore and redeem us, and make us sanctified people again. One may ask, how do we pray to God for the forgiveness of our sins? The answer to that is the Gospel. In line with the Gospel that we hear, it is in our response afterward that we either receive forgiveness or not.

Father in heaven, we were destitute and helpless because of our sins and could not save ourselves. However, You sent Your Son Jesus to rescue and restore us. Thank You for the grace and mercy You have shown us in the person of Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

How to Pray to God for Forgiveness of Sins

How Do We Receive Forgiveness?

As we have established in the introduction above, all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. How, then, can we receive forgiveness? Is it a specific prayer that we should pray? Do we have some works or rituals that we can do to attain forgiveness? The truth is that anything outside Christ is considered “good works.” Whether we’re praying hard to God, reading the Bible cover to cover, doing all sorts of charity, serving in the ministry, etc., none of those will save us. Because we are in sin or sinful at heart (Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:3; Psalm 51:5), all of our good works are filthy rags before God (Isaiah 64:6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.). A criminal can never go to a judge and show his community service or good works to absolve him of his crimes. None of those matter because the truth is that he committed a crime.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

How to Pray to God for Forgiveness of Sins

That is precisely where the Gospel is essential. We can never save ourselves. We have a sin problem that is not just on the surface but penetrates deep down into our hearts. We are infected with sin, having hardened hearts and spiritually blinded eyes (Ezekiel 36:26-27; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4). We are so very much in sin that of our own volition, we won’t seek God or even care about the matters of God. If we do, it will be out of our selfishness. So, when we sin, we don’t care about doing it. Our separation before God is a matter of holiness and sinfulness. God is holy, and we are not holy because of our sins. This results in us being separated from Him (Isaiah 59:2) and recipients of His just wrath (Ephesians 2:3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.), and our sin-tainted good works cannot save us.

How to Pray to God for Forgiveness of Sins

How to Pray to God for Forgiveness of Sins

However, God is merciful, gracious, and loving. Even though we were spiritually dead men walking, God, in His mercy, caused us to come alive from being dead in our sins and living a life of sin (Ephesians 2:1-9). He made us alive with Christ, saving us by grace and showing in the coming ages the immeasurable riches of His grace and kindness toward us in Christ. Merciful and gracious, God gave His Son Jesus to die for us on the cross. Instead of us dying, it was Christ. As mentioned, all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. Because of that, God gave Christ as the propitiation for our sins—the perfect and unblemished sacrifice Who would die in our stead. Such a benevolent act displays God’s righteousness and divine forbearance (Romans 3:23-25).

With all of this, how can we receive forgiveness for our sins? The answer to that is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 3:25 tells us that Christ’s propitiation for our sins is to be received by faith, which means that we cannot look inside us for salvation. Instead, we must trust that it is in Christ alone and His work that we find salvation, forgiveness, eternal life, and adoption as God’s children (John 3:16; John 1:12-13; John 1:4-5). The question is: Do you believe in the Gospel? Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He paid for your sins on the cross, and that He resurrected from the dead? Do you believe that He lived the sinless life you should have lived and died the death you should have died? If you answer “yes,” it is not just a mere “yes.” It involves repentance—leaving behind the life of sin and committing to following Christ, which involves dying to yourself every day. (Acts 3:19; Luke 13:3; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Matthew 4:17; Matthew 16:24; Galatians 2:20). Christ took our sins and died for them so that in Him we may be forgiven and justified in the eyes of the Father. Not only are we forgiven, but God sees the righteousness of Christ in us (Romans 4:22-24).

From being in the kingdom of darkness, in Christ we are brought to the kingdom of light (Ephesians 5:8). The sin that has dominion over us has already been broken; we are not enslaved to it anymore, but instead we are slaves of righteousness (Romans 6:18). We have the freedom in Christ to do that which is righteous (Galatians 5:1). We have a new heart as new creatures whose desires are to honor and glorify God (2 Corinthians 5:17). Though at times we may still struggle with sin, we have victory over it and know that we are being conformed to the image of Christ day by day.

Salvation is not something we work for. It is a gift given to us by God’s sovereign grace, so we cannot boast about it (Romans 8:29). It takes humility to acknowledge that we need Christ and God’s grace to get us out of the mess of sin.

In Line with the Gospel, How Can We Pray for the Forgiveness of Our Sins?

Salvation is attained by believing in the Gospel of Christ, repenting, and committing to follow Him for the rest of our lives. It is essential to keep that in mind. In response to that, we can utter a prayer to God. The prayer we pray is in line with the one that was mentioned above. It is about how sin is a problem we can never solve on our own or get ourselves out of, how we need Christ, and how only He alone can save us. In line with the Gospel presented to us, we believe Him, repent of our sinful lives, and commit to dying to ourselves daily and following Him. Only when we believe the Gospel and trust Christ can we receive forgiveness. Below is an example of such a prayer:

Father in heaven, no matter my deeds, I can never earn my way up to be forgiven of my sins, for You are a just God. Sin has to be punished. But praise be to You, for You have been gracious and merciful to me! You have provided Your Son Jesus as the perfect sacrifice for my sins once and for all. In Him, I can find forgiveness and eternal life. I put my trust not in myself but in the finished work of Christ, Whose work is perfect. In line with this grace You have given me, knowing that it is through Christ that I have life, I leave behind my life of sin and commit to following You and living my life for You. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer me who lives but Christ. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Note that this prayer is merely a response or an articulated version of what is in your heart when you hear the Gospel, believe, repent, and follow Christ. In the end, this prayer is not what saves you; it is Christ. The main question is not whether you prayed this prayer or not but if you have believed and repented (Romans 10:9).

Do We Still Pray and Ask God for Forgiveness Even If We Are Already in Christ?

Absolutely! We have a biblical basis for that. The first one is when Jesus taught us how to pray in Matthew 6:12. The context of the verse is that the disciples were asking Jesus how to pray. Jesus then taught them how to pray by adoring and glorifying God, praying for His will to be done, and so on. One of the prayer points that Jesus taught is to ask God for forgiveness just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.

How does that apply to us Christians who are in Christ? Does that mean Christ’s work is not permanent, or is there a chance that there are aspects of our sins that we still need to forgive? Absolutely not. Christ’s work is perfect and permanent. He has covered your past, present, and future sins (Hebrews 10:14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.).

 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

How to Pray to God for Forgiveness of Sins

How, then, does the passage in Matthew 6:12 apply to those of us who are in Christ? The application of it is not salvational but relational. Here comes our other biblical bases, 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Ezekiel 36:26. In Christ, we become new creatures. Being new creatures, we have new hearts, not out of stone but out of flesh, that beat for God.

That is why before we were saved we didn’t care if we sinned. But now that we are in Christ, our hearts are broken if we sin, and we desire to live a life of godliness because we want to honor God. So, if we sin, we don’t delight in it; we are sorry for it and ask God for forgiveness. It is not because we have to earn our salvation but because we are in a relationship with God, Whom we love, respect, and honor. This is a good thing because it shows that, indeed, your heart has been transformed from being one that is callous in sin. However, just like a good Father, when we come to God and are sorry for our sins, He is gracious because He sees Christ in us again. That is why the Bible tells us that we keep with repentance that we may bear fruit (Matthew 3:8). It is a continuous thing that we do as Christians, as those who are being conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29; Philippians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 3:18).

Father in heaven, forgive me for those moments when I knew what was the right and godly thing to do, yet I went with my flesh. Give me the grace and strength that I will do the opposite next time. Thank You because Christ covers all of my shortcomings but does not change the truth that You love me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

How to Pray to God for Forgiveness of Sins

How to Pray to God for Forgiveness of Sins

We are like skeletons floating in the water. Even if a life vest is given to us, we, being dead, can never even think of grabbing the life vest. That is how dead we are in our sins and trespasses. However, God gave us life so we may grab and take hold of the life vest, receive grace upon grace in Christ, have eternal life, be forgiven, be redeemed to holiness, and live as God’s children. Such is the result of God’s richness in mercy. As written in Ephesians 2:1-3, God made us alive together with Christ even when we were dead in our trespasses. So, it is by grace that we have been saved. With that, God deserves all the glory, worship, adoration, and praise. He is the only One worthy to live for.

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