The forgiveness of sins - Page 4
Being forgiven by God
Personal arrow prayers
If you have thought or said or done something wrong, try to turn straight back to God. You can use an arrow prayer – a short, quick prayer offered silently anywhere where you happen to be, in the playground, on the bus, at home. You can use your own words. You might, for example say, “Dear God, I’m sorry, I’ve done wrong – please forgive me”.
Personal evening prayers
Every evening before we go to sleep we should say our prayers. This should include thinking over the day and pinpointing anything wrong we have thought or said or done. Then we should bring these sins before God, tell him we are very sorry and that we will try hard not to sin again. Ask his help in keeping this resolve.
During church services
A general prayer of confession, said by everyone together, forms part of the Eucharist and other services such as Evensong. It’s easy to get so used to saying the words that we don’t think about them and don’t recall our sins. So we should make a point of silently remembering our sins and really using the words to talk to God and tell him we are sorry and will try not to sin again.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance)
Many people find it helpful to confess their sins regularly to a priest in the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance). They should certainly do so before Easter and if they have committed a serious sin. Usually priests hear confessions in church. You go up to where the priest is sitting, kneel down, and confess all the wrong things you can remember having thought and said and done. After that the priest offers you some advice or encouragement, and then gives you God’s forgiveness.
There are three things you should remember about confession to a priest. First, in order to have God’s forgiveness, you must own up to every sin you can remember and not keep anything back. Secondly, the priest is under a solemn vow, which can never be broken, not to mention to anyone anything heard in a confession. And thirdly, priests don’t think any the worse of people who confess their sins; in fact they admire them all the more because of their loyalty to Jesus, which they show by going to confession.