Honest prayers for those who recognize their many faults.
Let’s be honest: Some prayers developed by some of the saints can seem a little too “pious” for most of us. For those of us who still feel that sanctity is a mere speck on the horizon, it’s easier to identify with prayers that acknowledge how often we fall short.
The good news is that the Church was never meant to be a museum of saints, but a hospital for sinners. If you want evidence, look at the Twelve Apostles. The very “rock” of the Church denied Christ three times, and all but one of the apostles fled the crucifixion scene.
5 Saints who were notorious sinners
Recognizing the reality of our own lives, here are several “prayers for sinners” that are honest about our own sinfulness and turn our focus to the God of Mercy to heal our many wounds.
The Jesus Prayer
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Prayer of Forgiveness
O Lord, Jesus Christ, Redeemer and Saviour, forgive my sins, just as You forgave Peter’s denial and those who crucified You. Count not my transgressions, but, rather, my tears of repentance. Remember not my iniquities, but, more especially, my sorrow for the offenses I have committed against You. I long to be true to Your Word, and pray that You will love me and come to make Your dwelling place within me. I promise to give You praise and glory in love and in service all the days of my life.
Prayer of St. Alphonsus Liguori
I love you Jesus, my Love, above all things. I repent with my whole heart for ever having offended You. Never permit me to separate myself from You again. Grant that I may love You always. Then do with me what you will.
From a Prayer of St. John Chrysostom
O my all-merciful God and Lord,
Jesus Christ, full of pity:
Through Your great love You came down
and became incarnate in order to save everyone.
O Savior, I ask You to save me by Your grace! …
You are compassionate and full of mercy!
You said, …
“Whoever believes in Me shall live and never die.”
If then, faith in You saves the lost, then save me,
O my God and Creator, for I believe.
Let faith and not my unworthy works be counted to me, O my God,
for You will find no works which could account me righteous.
O Lord, from now on let me love You as intensely as I have loved sin,
and work for You as hard as I once worked for the evil one.
I promise that I will work to do Your will,
my Lord and God, Jesus Christ, all the days of my life and forever more.
Prayer of St. Augustine
Lord Jesus, let me know myself and know you,
And desire nothing, save only you.
Let me hate myself and love you.
Let me do everything for the sake of you.
Let me humble myself and exalt you.
Let me think of nothing except you.
Let me die to myself and live in you.
Let me accept whatever happens as from you.
Let me banish self and follow you,
And ever desire to follow you.
Let me fly from myself and take refuge in you,
That I may deserve to be defended by you.
Let me fear for myself, let me fear you,
And let me be among those who are chosen by you.
Let me distrust myself and put my trust in you.
Let me be willing to obey for the sake of you.
Let me cling to nothing, save only to you,
And let me be poor because of you.
Look upon me, that I may love you.
Call me, that I may see you,
And for ever enjoy you.
Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love;
in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions.
Thoroughly wash away my guilt;
and from my sin cleanse me.
For I know my transgressions;
my sin is always before me.
Against you, you alone have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your eyes
So that you are just in your word,
and without reproach in your judgment.
Behold, I was born in guilt,
in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, you desire true sincerity;
and secretly you teach me wisdom.
Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
You will let me hear gladness and joy;
the bones you have crushed will rejoice.
Turn away your face from my sins;
blot out all my iniquities.
A clean heart create for me, God;
renew within me a steadfast spirit.
Can a sinner become a saint?