Prayer for forgiveness of self and other has been and is so important to me. You will understand why if I tell you a little of my story:
When I got ill, I did not have the help I needed to rest and recover. I had to go against the advice to rest in order to continue to look after myself. I got more and more ill. I ended up living severely disabled with ME, bedbound for 14 years. I felt that my deterioration was unecessary and was angry that no one stepped forward to ensure that I got enough to eat.
I developed the powerful forgiveness exercises of the release which you can read about in my FREE ebook - Releasing Judgment.)
Prayer for forgiveness also helpd me to keep my heart open. I wanted to be able to receive blessings instead of living with bitterness.
Articles on Prayer for Forgiveness:
This forgiveness article is on self forgiveness. The next one is on how to forgive someone else - see links below.
Both articles include forgiveness quotes from The Bible and A Course In Miracles.
PRAYER FOR SELF FORGIVENESS
HOW TO FORGIVE SOMEONE ELSE
OTHER ARTICLES ON FORGIVENESS ON www.a-spiritual-journey-of-healing.com:
A practice of forgiveness I use in my life and in my work, called "The Release".
Seeking inner peace
through the practice of forgiving self and other.
Spiritual Prayer For Forgiveness of Self - release from unhelpful guilt
I feel bad about feeling/doing________.
But my feeling of guilt is not helping. In fact, it is making things worse.
I feel like I am doing my best.
Dear God, help me.
Give me an understanding that I am not this body that does things in the world, but part of your unending Love.
Father, this feeling of guilt has brought me to you, so I am grateful for it.
I now replace this feeling of guilt with a quiet trust.
Thank you God.
May I be blessed and be a blessing.
Make this prayer for self forgiveness your own by missing out anything which does not apply to your own situation. Or write your own prayer.
Forgiveness is the main spiritual practice which allowed me to keep my heart open to God through 14 years of severe illness and hardship.
A Catholic prayer for self forgiveness can also be called an act of contrition. I have just looked up the definition of contrition on Wikepedia.
“Contrition or contriteness (from the Latin contritus 'ground to pieces, i.e. crushed by guilt) is sincere and complete remorse (i.e. regret with a sense of guilt) for sins one has committed.”
That last sentence contains so much of what can potentially cause damage in religion.
Ground to pieces, crushed by guilt.
I can't see anything positive in that.
And the word “sin” has become a trigger word for so many people.
The idea of saying a prayer for forgiveness is not to be crushed by guilt. It is very much the opposite.
It is to remove ourselves from under the weight of guilt by acknowledging a mistake we think we have made and asking for forgiveness.
Catholics have available the sacrament of penance. You go to a priest at least once each year, confess your sins/mistakes, say a prayer for forgiveness, and receive absolution from God via the priest.
You can also attend a mass twice a year dedicated to prayer for forgiveness. It is called a penitential service.
Any non-catholic would, I hope, be welcome to attend.
For myself, growing up as a Catholic Christian, I ended up with
an unhealthy, I would say, ungodly sense of guilt. It did not come from
these practices though. Not at all.
These practices cultivated a belief in me of a loving God who always forgives.
Many people of various religions – especially in previous generations, had the opposite experience – the experience of a punishing and unforgiving God.
Many secular (non-religious or non-spiritual) people with experience of being punished unfairly or not being forgiven also have a poor ability to forgive themselves or expect forgiveness from others.
I was blessed to be taught a God of love not of fear.
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When I was ill and housebound, my spiritual journey eventually moved me back towards Christianity. A priest started to visit me at home.
To my surprise, I found an enormous sense of release and relief in saying The Confiteor – a prayer for forgiveness which is said in every mass.
I confess to almighty God,
I realised that without practising belief in a loving, all-accepting God, I had started to define my worth by whether I was right or wrong.
There was a tightness about me, an unhealthy need to be right.
In turn, this was making it harder for me to see when I was in the wrong.
What a relief to remember we don't have to be right to be OK. We can ask others to accept us as we are. We can ask others to say a prayer for forgiveness for us.
There is a wonderful line in A Course In Miracles:
“Do you prefer that you be right or happy?” (T-29.VII.1)
When you feel unhappy with yourself or another, say this ACIM quote to give God access to show you another way of seeing things; one that leads to peace.
Do I prefer to be right or happy?
Christian forgiveness generally has some practice for carrying out the following advice on self forgiveness given in the Bible:
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.”
(James 5:16 , KJV e-Sword)
If the Confiteor prayer above suits you, please use it. You will have the benefit of joining your mind with a billion or more Catholics around the world who use it. And there is a very similar penetential prayer in the Muslim tradition.
If so, read the prayer for forgiveness at the top of this page and see if it helps to bring you to peace.
Or write yourself a prayer for forgiveness of self; one that helps you to feel okay about having made a mistake.
Self forgiveness exercises
We can feel guilty about something we don't even think is bad, yet we feel really bad about it. If this is the case for you, stop and consider if you have a good friend who might help you with the following self forgiveness exercise.
Give the friend an idea of what you feel guilty about.
"Can we repeat this forgiveness exercise a number of times to allow me to feel my guilt and receive your forgiveness"
It can be a surprisingly powerful experience for us to hear a friend say:
You may need to repat this little forgiveness exercise many times so
you keep hearing the words: I forgive you.
We can be rather stubborn about forgiving ourselves. :-)
An example in my own life is that I feel guilt and shame for being ill.
I know, logically, that illness is not my fault. But it is powerful for me to hear the words...
"I forgive you for being ill."
As a child I prayed the following prayer for forgiveness every night:
I love thee Lord Jesus,
The simplicity of this child's prayer has appealed to me in some dark times.
(If you are looking for spiritual resources for a child, you may want to read a wonderful poem about Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection.
This poem is a rhyming poem which makes it suitable as a children's Bible poem).
I was taught that the nature of God is such that forgiveness is guaranteed. God always forgives. It is ourselves who resist self forgiveness.
The only requirement to receive forgiveness is to be sorry and to say a prayer for forgiveness.
“I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
(Jeremiah 31:34, KJV e-sword)
A Course In Miracles goes further. The following is from amongst so many profound and powerful forgiveness quotes in the Course:
“God does not forgive because He has never condemned. And there must be condemnation before forgiveness is necessary.”
(W-41.1, A Course In Miracles)
“God does not forgive because He has never condemned.”
We need forgiveness because we believe we have done something wrong. God does not need to forgive because he created us perfect.
Whatever we believe about ourselves and the world, He knows these are just illusions.
Beyond the body, our reality and our innocence remain in Him.
My spiritual journey is one where I move more and more towards defining myself by the beauty God sees in me instead of the way myself or the world sees me.
I am willing to take His word for what I am: what we all are.
As this poem about self forgiveness conveys, in God's eyes, we are innocent.
Move to the TOP of this article on Prayer for Forgiveness.
Move from Prayer For Forgiveness of Self to the next page -
Spiritual Forgiveness Prayer - How to Forgive Someone
Move to see a List of Prayers on a-spiritual-journey-of-healing.com
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(by the author of a-spiritual-journey-of-healing.com)
For 14 years, Katherine was severely disabled with CFS/ME, unable to walk, with little speech, and with inadequate care.
Katherine's small beautiful collection of poems take the reader with her as she journeys to know both self love and
Click to preview
"One thing that struck me was the stripping of ego in the work. Most of us have a comfy ego façade, but weakness and disease tore Katherine’s away. The poems in Be Loved Beloved come from the heart."
Dana Taylor, Author of Ever-Flowing Streams: Tapping into Healing Energy