Protestant Prayer for Forgiveness of Sins
Acknowledging our sins is an important part of our spiritual growth. Unless we acknowledge our sins and ask God’s forgiveness, we cannot receive the grace we need to become better Christians. There are many different forms of the act of contrition; Here are the most popular in use today for Protestant prayer for forgiveness of sins.
Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In Your Name. Amen.
“Lord, I confess that I have often offended you. I have a deep regret. I beg you, forgive me my infidelities and my offenses! Grant me the grace not to fall back into sin, and to run away from opportunities. I sincerely want to repair my faults, and do penance for them”.
“My God, I have sinned against you and my brothers, but near you is forgiveness. Accept my repentance and give me the strength to live according to your love”.
John Calvin’s Prayer of Repentance
“Lord God, Eternal Father, we acknowledge and confess before your holy majesty that we are poor sinners.
Born in slavery to sin, inclined to evil, incapable by our own strength to do good, we transgress your holy commandments daily and in many ways, drawing upon us, as a consequence, death.
But, Lord, we have a deep pain to have forgotten you: we condemn ourselves, us and our vices, with true repentance; we have recourse to your grace and beg you to help us in our misery.
Please therefore have mercy on us, God most good, merciful father, and forgive us our sins for the love of Jesus Christ, your son, our saviour.
By erasing our shortcomings, grant us also and continually increase us the graces of your Holy Spirit, so that, recognizing more and more our faults, we may be deeply touched by them, we renounce them with all our heart and we bear fruit. righteousness and holiness, which are pleasing to you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen”.
Psalm of repentance (psalm 51)
“O God! have mercy on me in your goodness; according to your great mercy, blot out my transgressions;
Wash me completely from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
I have sinned against you alone, and I have done what is evil in your eyes, so that you will be just in your sentence, blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was born in iniquity, and my mother conceived me in sin.
But you want the truth to be in the depths of my heart: let wisdom therefore penetrate within me!
Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Show me gladness and joy, and the bones you have broken will rejoice.
Turn your gaze away from my sins, erase all my iniquities.
O God! create in me a pure heart, renew in me a willing spirit.
Do not cast me away from your face, do not take your holy spirit away from me.
Give me back the joy of your salvation, and may a spirit of goodwill sustain me!
I will teach your ways to those who transgress them, and sinners will return to you.
O God, God of my salvation! deliver me from the shed blood, and my tongue will praise your mercy.
Lord! open my lips, and my mouth will publish your praise.
If you had wanted sacrifices, I would have offered them to you; but you take no pleasure in burnt offerings.
Sacrifices that are pleasing to God is a broken spirit: O God! you do not disdain a broken and contrite heart.
Pour out your blessings on Zion by your grace, build the walls of Jerusalem!
Then you will accept sacrifices of justice, burnt offerings and whole victims; then bulls will be offered on your altar”.
Why make an act of contrition?
“Blessed is the man whose guilt is taken away, and whose sin is forgiven! (Psalms 32)
Every sin is a wound inflicted on Christ and adds to the burden we must bear. Recognizing one’s fault(s), expressing real repentance allows us to draw closer to the Lord, to experience his infinite love and mercy and to feel truly free.
We are sinners but we are not condemned to remain prisoners of our sins. Jesus died to redeem them. The act of contrition allows them to be placed at the foot of his cross. It is thus intimately linked to the act of faith, the act of charity and the act of hope because in asking for the grace of forgiveness, we are also asking God – with faith and hope – for the strength and courage to to do penance and not to commit this fault again.
“So, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance. (Luke 15:7).
Affections and Supplications for Contrition
It is common, before the Act of Contrition, to implore the Lord to grant the Christian true and deep pain for having offended Him and the grace of perfect contrition:
First Affection and Supplication (a request for help from Jesus Christ)
Oh my God! You gave me reason, the light of faith, and yet I behaved like an irrational, neglecting your divine grace to the base worldly pleasures, which dissipated like smoke, leaving only remorse of conscience and debts to your justice. Oh Lord nojudge me for what I deserve (Ps 142, 2), but treat me according to your mercy! Enlighten me, my God; give me pain over my sins, and forgive me. I am the lost sheep; if you do not look for me, I will remain lost (Ps 118, 176).
Have mercy on me, for the precious blood you shed for me. I regret, my Supreme Good, for having abandoned you and for having voluntarily renounced your grace. I would like to die of pain; increased in me
that deep contrition and make it reach heaven to exalt your infinite mercy there… Our Mother Mary, my refuge and my hope, pray for me to Jesus; intercede for him to forgive me and grant me holy perseverance.
Second Affection and Supplication (a request for help from Jesus Christ)
What do I have left, my God, of the offenses I have done you, but bitterness and pain and merits to hell? The pain I feel does not overwhelm me, but it consoles and relieves me, because it is a gift ofyour grace that is united to the hope that you want to forgive me.
What afflicts me is how much I have injured you, my Redeemer, who loved me so much. I deserved then, Lord, that you should forsake me; instead, I see that you offer me forgiveness and that you are the first to seek peace. Yes, my Jesus, I desire peace with you, and above all things, I desire your grace.
I regret, infinite goodness, for having offended you and I would like to die of pure contrition. For the love you had with me, dying for me on the cross, forgive me and welcome me into your heart; change mine in such a way that, if it offended you much in the past, it will please you more in the future. I renounce, for your love, all the pleasures that the world can offer me, and I resolve to lose my life rather than your grace.
Tell me what you want me to do to serve you, because I want to do it. No pleasures, no honors and no riches; I only love you, my God, my joy, my glory, my treasure, my life, my love and my everything. Help me, Lord, that I may be faithful to you; grant me the gift of your love and do with me what you please. Jesus Christ, please take me under your protection. Amen.
Third Affection and Supplication
Give me light, Lord, in order to recognize my wickedness in offending You and the eternal punishment I deserved for it. My God, I feel great pain for having offended You, but this pain consoles and relieves me. Had you plunged me into hell, as I deserved, remorse would have been my greatest punishment there, considering misery and baseness.of the things that brought about my eternal disgrace. Now, however, the pain revives, consoles and instills in me hope of obtaining forgiveness, which you offered to the one who repents. My God and Lord, I regret having insulted you; I gladly accept this most sweet pain of the pain of my sins, and I beg you to increase it and preserve it until death, so that I may not stop regretting my sins for a single moment…
Forgive me, my Jesus and Redeemer, that, because you had mercy on me, you had no mercy on yourself, and condemned yourselves to die of pain to deliver me from hell. Have mercy on me! Make, therefore, that my heart remains always contrite and inflamed in your love, since you have loved me so much and put up with so much patience, to the point that, instead of punishing me, you shower me with light and grace… I thank you, my Jesus, and I love you with all my heart. You do not know how to despise those who love you; I ask, therefore, that you do not turn your divine face away from me. Receive me in your grace and do not allow me to lose it again… Mary, Mother and Our Lady, receive me as your servant and unite me with your Son Jesus. Beg him to forgive me and to grant me, together with the gift of his love, the grace of final perseverance.
Fourth Affection and Supplication
Sovereign Lord of heaven and earth! Infinite good and infinite Majesty, how can men despise you, if you have loved them so much?… Among them, Lord, you loved me particularly, favoring me withvery special graces, which you did not grant to all; and I despised them more than others. At your feet I prostrate myself, O Jesus, my Savior! You do not repel me from your presence (Ps 50:13), though I deserve it because of my ingratitude; but you said that you do not know how to despise a contrite heart that returns to you (Jn 6:37). My Jesus, I regret having offended You; and if in the past life I did not know you, now I recognize you for my Lord and Redeemer, who died to save me and to be loved by me… When, my Jesus, will my ingratitude end? When will I start to truly love you? Today, Lord, I resolve to love you with all my heart, and to love no one more than you.
O my Lord, I adore you for all those who do not love you. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you and I offer myself entirely to you. Help me with your grace… If you favored me when I neither loved you nor wanted to love you, how much more should I expect from your mercy now that I love you and desire to love you? Give me, Lord, your love… fervent love, that makes me forget all creatures; very strong love, that overcome all obstacles that oppose what you like; perpetual love, which cannot cease. I hope everything from your merits. Amen.