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A Prayer for Forgiveness

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Curtis Sergeant

Dr. Curtis Sergeant served with the International Mission Board (IMB) as a pioneer church-planting missionary among an unreached people group in China. When the work began to produce rapidly multiplying churches and he was no longer needed there, Curtis transitioned to a ministry of training others to do the same sort of ministry. In that role, he intensively trained hundreds of people from a wide range of nations, denominations, and agencies, who have collectively catalyzed movements that have planted millions of house churches. He has served as the IMB’s vice president for global strategy and Saddleback Church’s director of church planting. Curtis currently operates MetaCamp, a disciple-making and missions training center located in Dadeville, Alabama. He also works in leadership with Zúme and 24:14. Curtis and his wife, Debie, have two grown and married children, Nathan and Megan.

The following is a prayer for forgiveness I composed during my own devotional times. The prayer itself is somewhat formal in nature—more so than my typical daily prayers—because I want to foster a sense of wonder and reverence. My hope is that this prayer from my heart may refresh your heart, draw you closer to our eternal King and His Kingdom, and intensify your love for Him and your desire to use every moment, every encounter, every opportunity, to know and glorify Him more fully. May God use your life to encourage those around you to take their next step on a spiritual journey that will glorify the Lord and bring joy to His heart.

Savior of all grace, produce in me the faith to live in You, desiring nothing else—with You as all my hope, all my aim, all my glory. May You be both my path and my guide, both my model to imitate and the potter who shapes me.

You are my foundation and refuge. You are the prophet who instructs me, the priest who intercedes for me, and the king who rules me. May I rely entirely on You, and may I love and serve You with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength.

May I never be ashamed of You or Your words, but joyfully bear any opposition or sacrifice that comes as a result of faithfully following You; and may I count it a privilege and glory to be so identified with You.

“May I never be ashamed of You or Your words.”

May I avoid bringing sorrow to Your heart by any failure through omission or commission. Let me never retreat or delay when You bid me to advance. Let me be so attentive to Your desires and direction that a mere glance from You will result in my full and complete response.

Keep me from this present evil world and its influences. Protect me from its allures, intimidations, vices, and errors. Infuse my heart with so much love for You that there is no room left for love of anything else, including the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life.

Constantly remind me that I am a citizen of Your Kingdom and only a stranger passing through this world. Let me seek that country and Your reign, continually expressing Your will and Your ways more fully in word and deed and serving as a faithful ambassador, calling others to submit to You as the all-wise and all-good King.

“Constantly remind me that I am a citizen of Your Kingdom.”

By faith may I more clearly perceive Your voice and Your activity in my life and in the world. Each day may I more clearly understand Your will on earth in order that I might pursue it until that day when it is done here as in heaven. Be glorified in me and through me, I pray.

Prayer of Confession Inspired by the Early Church Fathers

Heavenly Father, You made my body to serve You and my soul to follow hard after You. With sorrow and contrition of heart, I admit before You my faults and my failures.

My failure to be true even to my own accepted standards;
My self-deception in the face of temptation;
My choosing of the worse when I know the better;
O Lord, forgive!

My silence when You would have me speak and my speech when You would have me keep silent;
My actions when You would have me wait on You and my hesitation when You would have me act;
My complacency toward wrongs that do not affect me and my oversensitivity to those that do;
O Lord, forgive!

My lack of Your compassion in showing mercy for the downtrodden and the lost;
My pride in considering my own comfort and convenience above the needs of others;
My blindness to the suffering of others and my slowness to be taught by my own;
O Lord, forgive!

My failure to apply to myself the standards of conduct I demand of others;
My slowness to see the good in others and to see the evil in myself;
My hardness of heart toward my neighbors’ faults and my readiness to make allowance for my own;
O Lord, forgive!

“My hardness of heart toward my neighbors’ faults and my readiness to make allowance for my own; O Lord, forgive!”

My unwillingness to recognize that You have called me to a small work and my brother to a great one;
My ingratitude and grumbling when You place a great opportunity before me to display Your grace;
My failure to recognize Your loving hand in all that touches me;
O Lord, forgive!

Excerpted from Curtis Sergeant, The Only One: Living Fully In, By, and For God. For more from Curtis, check out