Prayer Of Confession To God For A Prodigal
Pray Them Home: Three Prayers for Prodigal Children
I once was that prodigal child — lost, angry, and struggling to find my identity. Hardened on the outside, but deeply hurting within. The pain of my choices was not only destroying me, but creating heartache within our family and severing my relationships with the people who loved me most.
By God’s grace, my parents did not give up on me — despite how tempting it must have been at times. Instead, they entrusted my life to God, prayed for my brokenness, and fought for me in prayers that God eventually answered.
Parents, if you are raising a seemingly hard-hearted, rebellious son or daughter (whether outwardly or inwardly), I challenge you to take up your arms, fight the spiritual battle that rages over them with all of your God-given strength, and refuse to give up on their life.
I encourage you to pray these three prayers over lost children.
1. Pray for a heart of brokenness, no matter the earthly cost
“My parents loved me enough to pray for my brokenness, a brokenness that would lead to healing.”
It’s incredibly hard to pray for anything but a comfortable, successful, and pain-free life for our children.
But as Christian parents, the greatest eternal good that we can pray for them is their salvation over their earthly happiness or comfort.
We have to fight for them in this world filled with temporary pleasures, self-gratification, and blurry lines — entrusting their lives to our Lord — even if the path of salvation comes through pain.I am eternally grateful that my parents loved me enough to pray for my brokenness, a brokenness that would lead to healing.
And my path of brokenness nearly killed me.
After a devastating loss of my identity as an athlete and hidden abuse from peers, my life spiraled control. I searched for identity and purpose in anything but Jesus. As self-destructive patterns drove me deeper into despair, I longed for an escape from this world, ultimately landing me in the protection of a hospital.
In that stark white hospital room, the choice before me was clear: be crushed by the weight of my sin or lay the broken pieces of my life at his feet. By his grace, he led me to my knees and has been redeeming those broken pieces ever since.
We will only be bold enough to pray a prayer of brokenness over our children when we ourselves have been broken before God and trust his love for our children and us. It’s only when we have completely surrendered our children to him that we can pray, “Father, use what you must to save my child from an eternity apart from you, no matter the cost.”
2. Pray against the enemy’s desire to have them
“We will only be bold enough to pray for our child’s brokenness when we ourselves have been broken before God.”
A battle is being waged over our children’s lives. We have to fight for them, especially when blindness keeps them from fighting the battle themselves.
I remember my mom telling me the story of a time when I was standing in the kitchen with her, angry at the world, and taking it out on her. She looked at me and said boldly, “I am fighting for you, and I won’t let Satan have victory over your life!” After she spoke those words, I fell into a heap on the floor and burst into tears.
Although we don’t have a guarantee of our children’s salvation or the outcome we may desire, we can be confident that God is faithful to his promises and hears our prayers.
One of the great weapons God has given parents to fight against the world’s pull and the enemy’s schemes over their children is to pray the way Christ did for Peter: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31–32).
Although Peter was a believer and the children we are praying for may not be, we can still pray to God that he would rescue our children from the power of Satan, give them faith in Christ, and use their lives to advance the gospel and strengthen other believers.
3. Pray specific Scripture over their life
Even if your child wants nothing to do with the truth and hates to hear the word of God, they can do nothing to stop you from praying Scripture for them. This is another mighty weapon God has given to parents.
My parents prayed Psalm 18:16–19 over my life and prayed it often:
He sent from on high, he took me;he drew me many waters.He rescued me from my strong enemyand from those who hated me,for they were too mighty for me.They confronted me in the day of my calamity,but the Lord was my support.He brought me out into a broad place;
he rescued me, because he delighted in me.
It truly amazes me to look back and see how faithful God was to answer this prayer. I was drowning in self-destruction, abuse from others, rebelliousness, and sorrows too deep to understand at the time. God, in his mercy, drew me many deep waters, and rescued me from my own flesh and Satan’s desire for me.
“While we must teach and train our children, and put boundaries in place, we have no control over their hearts.” As I sat in a hospital room, no longer wanting to live, God rescued me, brought me out into a broad place, and showed me that he delighted in me (despite my unworthiness). He has continued to be faithful to this prayer, upholding me through many deep waters and carrying me through many dark days.
Parents, no matter how far your child seems to be from Jesus or what path they are on, you can fight for their life with the powerful weapon of God’s word.
The Power of a Praying Parent
The truth is, while we must teach and train our children, and put boundaries in place, we have no control over their hearts. Ultimately, God alone can fill their hearts with a love for Christ and open their eyes to see the beauty and glory of who he is.
I am learning this on a new level and from a different perspective as I now face struggles with my own children that often tempt me to despair. But we are not helpless, and we are never hopeless. Whether our children are young or old, have soft hearts or hearts of stone, we have the power of prayer, God’s living word, and a sovereign God we can trust.
Our Father in heaven loves to take seemingly hopeless lives, my own once was, and show himself merciful and mighty. Give your child the gift of prayer, and trust that God will use his or her life for his good purposes — growing and transforming your own life in the process.
Catholic Prayers During Confession
Imploration of Divine Assistance in Order to Make a Good Confession
O Almighty and most merciful God, who hast made me nothing, and redeemed me by the Precious Blood of Thine Only Son; who hast with so much patience borne with me to this day, notwithstanding all my sins and ingratitude; ever calling after me to return to Thee from the ways of vanity and iniquity, in which I have been quite wearied out in the pursuit of empty toys and mere shadows; seeking in vain to satisfy my thirst in unclean waters, and my hunger with husks of swine: behold, O most gracious Lord, I now sincerely desire to leave all these my evil ways, to forsake the region of death where I have so long lost myself, and to return to Thee, the Fountain of Life. I desire, the prodigal son, to enter seriously into myself, and with the resolution to arise without delay, and to go home to my Father – though I am most unworthy to be called His child – in hopes of meeting with the reception from His most tender mercy. But, O my God, though I can go astray from Thee of myself, yet I cannot make one step towards returning to Thee, unless Thy divine grace move and assist me. This grace, therefore, I most humbly implore, prostrate in spirit before the throne of Thy mercy; I beg it for the sake of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who died upon the Cross for my sins; I know that Thou desirest not the death of a sinner, but that he may be converted and live; I know Thy mercies are above all Thy works; and I most confidently hope that as in Thy mercy Thou hast spared me so long, and hast now given me this desire of returning to Thee, so Thou wilt finish the work which Thou hast begun, and bring me to a perfect reconciliation with Thee.
I desire now to comply with Thy holy institution of the Sacrament of Penance; I desire to confess my sins with all sincerity to Thee and to Thy minister; and therefore I desire to know myself, and to call myself to an account by a diligent examination of my conscience.
But, O my God, how miserably shall I deceive myself if Thou assist me not in this great work by Thy heavenly light. O then remove every veil that hides any of my sins from me, that I may see them all in their true colors, and may sincerely detest them.
O let me no longer be imposed upon by the Enemy of souls, or by my own self-love, so as to mistake vice for virtue, to hide myself from myself, or in any way to make excuses in sins.
But, O my good God, what will it avail me to know my sins, if Thou dost not also give me a hearty sorrow and repentance for them? Without this my sins will be all upon me still, and I shall be still Thine enemy and a child of hell.
Thou dost require that contrite heart, without which there can be no reconciliation with Thee; and this heart none but Thyself can give. O then, dear Lord, grant it unto me at this time. Give me a lively faith, and a steadfast hope, in the Passion of my Redeemer; teach me to fear Thee and to love Thee.
Give me, for Thy mercy’s sake, a hearty sorrow for having offended so good a God. Teach me to detest my evil ways; to abhor all my past ingratitude; to hate myself now with a perfect hatred for my many treasons against Thee.
O give me a full and a firm resolution to lead henceforward a new life; and unite me unto Thee with an eternal band of love which nothing in life or death may ever break.
Grant me also the grace to make an entire and sincere confession of all my sins, and to accept the confusion of it as a penance justly due to my transgressions. Let not the Enemy prevail upon me to pass over anything through fear or shame; rather let me die than consent to so great an evil. Let no self-love deceive me, as I fear it has done too often.
O grant that this confession may be good; and for the sake of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who died for me and for all sinners, assist me in every part of my preparation for it; that I may perform it with the same care and diligence as I should be glad to do at the hour of my death; that so, being perfectly reconciled to Thee, I may never offend Thee more.
Prayers Before the Examination of Conscience
O Almighty God, Maker of heaven and earth, King of kings, and Lord of lords, who hast made me nothing in Thine image and ness, and hast redeemed me with Thine own Blood; whom I a sinner am not worthy to name, or call upon, or think of: I humbly pray Thee, I earnestly beseech Thee, to look mercifully on me, Thy wicked servant.
Thou who hadst mercy on the woman of Chanaan and Mary Magdalen; Thou who didst spare the publican and the thief upon the cross, have mercy upon me.
Thou art my hope and my trust; my guide and my succor; my comfort and my strength; my defense and my deliverance; my life, my health, and my resurrection; my light and my longing; my help and my protection.I pray and entreat Thee, help me and I shall be safe; direct me and defend me; strengthen me and comfort me; confirm me and gladden me; enlighten me and come unto me. Raise me from the dead; I am Thy creature, and the work of Thy hands.
Despise me not, O Lord, nor regard my iniquities; but according to the multitude of Thy tender mercies have mercy upon me, the chief of sinners, and be gracious unto me. Turn Thou unto me, O Lord, and be not angry with me. I implore Thee, most compassionate Father, I pray Thee meekly, of Thy great mercy, to bring me to a holy death, and to true penance, to a perfect confession, and to worthy satisfaction for all my sins.
O Lord God, who enlightenest every man who cometh into this world, enlighten my heart, I pray Thee, with the light of Thy grace, that I may fully know my sins, shortcomings, and negligences, and may confess them with that true sorrow and contrition of heart which I so much need. I desire to make full amends for all my sins and to avoid them for the future to Thy honor and glory, and to the salvation of my soul, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I believe in Thee, O God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, my Creator, my Redeemer, and Sanctifier; I believe that Thou art all-holy, just, and merciful. I believe that Thou art willing to pardon and to save me, if I repent and forsake my sins. O my God, strengthen and increase my faith, and grant me the grace of a true repentance, for Jesus Christ’s sake.
I hope in Thee, O my God, because Thou art almighty, faithful, and long-suffering.
I humbly trust that Thou wilt pardon my sins for the sake of Thy dear Son Jesus Christ, who suffered and died for me upon the Cross; and that Thou wilt cleanse my sinful soul in His precious Blood, and make me holy, and bring me to everlasting life. O Lord, in Thee have I hoped, let me never be confounded.
I love Thee, O my God, above all things, because Thou hast been so good, so patient, so loving to me, notwithstanding all the sins by which I have so grievously offended Thee.
I love Thee, O Blessed Jesus, my Saviour, because Thou didst suffer so much for love of me, an ungrateful sinner, and didst die on the Cross for my salvation.O make me love Thee more and more, and show my love to Thee by faithfully keeping Thy Commandments all the days of my life.
O Mary Immaculate, Mother of Fair Love: obtain for me that love of God, which is so necessary for true contrition.
Prayer After the Examination of Conscience
O my God, I cry unto Thee with the prodigal: Father, I have sinned against heaven and before Thee ; I am no longer worthy to be called Thy Son. I have gone astray a sheep that is lost. O seek Thy servant, for I have not forgotten Thy commandments. Enter not into judgment with Thy servant, O Lord. O spare me for Thy mercy’s sake.
Prove me, O God, and know my heart ; examine me, and know my paths. Thou whose property is always to have mercy and to spare, O meet me in pity, embrace me in love, and forgive me all my sin. I confess my sins unto Thee, O Christ, Healer of our souls, O Lord of Life.
Heal me, heal me of my spiritual sickness, Thou who art long-suffering and of tender mercy ; heal me, O Lord Christ. Accept my supplication, O Thou Holy Spirit, unto whom every heart is open, every desire known, and from whom no secret is hid, and who givest life to our souls ; hear and answer, O Spirit of God.
O Heavenly Father, who willest not that any sinner should perish, give me true repentance for this my sin, that I perish not ! To what misery am I come by my own fault ! O merciful God, pity and forgive me for Jesus’ sake. Thine eyes, O God, are as a flame of fire searching my inmost heart.
O pardon my sin, for it is great ! Thou, God, seest me in all the foulness of my sins ! Blessed Jesus, speak for me, plead for me, come between my soul and my offended God, that I perish not.
Prayer Before Confession
Accept my confession, O my loving, most gracious Lord Jesus Christ, on whom alone my soul trusts for salvation. Grant me, I beseech Thee, contrition of heart, and give tears to mine eyes, that I may sorrow deeply for all my sins with humility and sincerity of heart.
O good Jesus, Saviour of the world, who gavest Thyself to the death of the Cross to save sinners, look on me, a miserable sinner who calls upon Thy name. Spare me, Thou that art my Saviour, and pity my sinful soul ; loose its chains, heal its sores.
Lord Jesus, I desire Thee, I seek Thee, I long for Thee ; show me the light of Thy countenance, and I shall be saved ; send forth Thy light and Thy truth into my soul, to show me fully all the sins and shortcomings which I must still confess, and to aid and teach me to lay them bare without reserve and with a contrite heart ; O Thou who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.
Amen.O most gracious Virgin Mary, beloved Mother of Jesus Christ, my Redeemer, intercede for me with Him. Obtain for me the full remission of my sins, and perfect amendment of life, to the salvation of my soul and the glory of His name.
I implore the same grace of thee, O my Guardian Angel ; of you, my holy Patrons, N. N. ; of you, O blessed Peter and holy Magdalen, and of all the Saints of God. Intercede for me a sinner, repenting of my sins, firmly resolving to confess them, and to avoid them for the future.
God of infinite majesty, behold at Thy feet a traitor, who has offended Thee over and over again, but who now humbly seeks forgiveness. O Lord, reject me not ; Thou dost not despise a heart that humbles itself : A contrite heart and humbled heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.
I thank Thee that Thou hast waited for me till now, and hast not let me die in sin, casting me into hell, as I deserved.
Since Thou hast waited for me, my God, I hope that, by the merits of Jesus Christ, Thou wilt pardon me in this confession for all the offences I have committed against Thee ; I repent, and am sorry for them, because by them I have merited hell and lost paradise.
But above all, it is not so much on account of hell which I have merited, but because I have offended Thee, O Infinite Goodness! that I am sorry from the bottom of my heart. I love Thee, O Sovereign Good! and because I love Thee, I repent of all the insults I have offered Thee.
I have turned my back upon Thee ; I have not respected Thee ; I have despised Thy grace and Thy friendship. O Lord! I have lost Thee by my own free-will ; forgive me all my sins for the love of Jesus Christ, now that I repent with all my heart ; I hate, detest, and abominate them above every evil. And I repent not only of mortal sins, but also of venial sins, because these are also displeasing to Thee. I resolve for the future, by Thy grace, never more wilfully to offend Thee. Yes, my God, I will rather die than ever sin again.
Prayers After Confession
O most merciful God, who according to the multitude of Thy mercies dost so put away the sins of those who truly repent that Thou rememberest them no more: look graciously upon me, Thine unworthy servant, and accept my confession for Thy mercy’s sake ; receive my humble thanks, most loving Father, that of Thy great goodness Thou hast given me pardon for all my sins. O may Thy love and pity supply whatsoever has been wanting in the sufficiency of my contrition, and the fulness of my confession. And do Thou, O Lord, vouchsafe to grant me the help of Thy grace, that I may diligently amend my life and persevere in Thy service unto the end, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
A Guide for Confession
The basic requirement for a good confession is to have the intention of returning to God the “prodigal son” and to acknowledge our sins with true sorrow before the priest.
Sin in my Life
Modern society has lost a sense of sin. As a Catholic follower of Christ, I must make an effort to recognize sin in my daily actions, words and omissions.
The Gospels show how important is the forgiveness of our sins. Lives of saints prove that the person who grows in holiness has a stronger sense of sin, sorrow for sins, and a need for the Sacrament of Penance or Confession.
The Differences in Sins
As a result of Original Sin, human nature is weakened. Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, takes away Original Sin, and turns us back toward God. The consequences of this weakness and the inclination to evil persist, and we often commit personal or actual sin.
Actual sin is sin which people commit. There are two kinds of actual sin, mortal and venial.
Mortal sin is a deadly offense against God, so horrible that it destroys the life of grace in the soul. Three simultaneous conditions must be fulfilled for a mortal sin: 1) the act must be something very serious; 2) the person must have sufficient understanding of what is being done; 3) the person must have sufficient freedom of the will.
If you need help-especially if you have been away for some time-simply ask the priest and he will help you by “walking” you through the steps to make a good confession.
Be truly sorry for your sins. The essential act of Penance, on the part of the penitent, is contrition, a clear and decisive rejection of the sin committed, together with a resolution not to commit it again, the love one has for God and which is reborn with repentance.
The resolution to avoid committing these sins in the future (amendment) is a sure sign that your sorrow is genuine and authentic. This does not mean that a promise never to fall again into sin is necessary. A resolution to try to avoid the near occasions of sin suffices for true repentance.
God’s grace in cooperation with the intention to rectify your life will give you the strength to resist and overcome temptation in the future.
Examination of Conscience
Before going to Confession you should make a review of mortal and venial sins since your last sacramental confession, and should express sorrow for sins, hatred for sins and a firm resolution not to sin again.
A helpful pattern for examination of conscience is to review the Commandments of God and the Precepts of the Church:
- Have God and the pursuit of sanctity in Christ been the goal of my life? Have I denied my faith? Have I placed my trust in false teachings or substitutes for God? Did I despair of God’s mercy?
- Have I avoided the profane use of God’s name in my speech? Have I broken a solemn vow or promise?
- Have I honored every Sunday by avoiding unnecessary work, celebrating the Mass (also holydays)? Was I inattentive at, or unnecessarily late for Mass, or did I leave early? Have I neglected prayer for a long time?
- Have I shown Christ respect to parents, spouse, and family members, legitimate authorities? Have I been attentive to the religious education and formation of my children?
- Have I cared for the bodily health and safety of myself and all others? Did I abuse drugs or alcohol? Have I supported in any way abortion, “mercy killing,” or suicide?
- Was I impatient, angry, envious, proud, jealous, revengeful, lazy? Have I forgiven others?
- Have I been just in my responsibilities to employer and employees? Have I discriminated against others because of race or other reasons?
- Have I been chaste in thought and word? Have I used sex only within marriage and while open to procreating life? Have I given myself sexual gratification? Did I deliberately look at impure TV, pictures, reading?
- Have I stolen anything from another, from my employer, from government? If so, am I ready to repay it? Did I fulfill my contracts? Did I rashly gamble, depriving my family of necessities?
- Have I spoken ill of any other person? Have I always told the truth? Have I kept secrets and confidences?
- Have I permitted sexual thoughts about someone to whom I am not married?
- Have I desired what belongs to other people? Have I wished ill on another?
- Have I been faithful to sacramental living (Holy Communion and Penance)?
- Have I helped make my parish community stronger and holier? Have I contributed to the support of the Church?
- Have I done penance by abstaining and fasting on obligatory days? Have I fasted before receiving communion?
- Have I been mindful of the poor? Do I accept God’s will for me?
After examining your conscience and telling God of your sorrow, go into the confessional. You may kneel at the screen or sit to talk face-to-face with the priest.
Begin your confession with the sign of the cross, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. My last confession was _______ weeks (months, years) ago.”
The priest may read a passage from holy Scripture.
Say the sins that you remember. Start with the one(s) that is most difficult to say. (In order to make a good confession the faithful must confess all mortal sins, according to kind and number.) After confessing all the sins you remember since your last good confession, you may conclude by saying, “I am sorry for these and all the sins of my past life.”Listen to the words of the priest. He will assign you some penance. Doing the penance will diminish the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven. When invited, express some prayer of sorrow or Act of Contrition such as:
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell. But most of all because I have offended you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my life. Amen.
At the End of Confession
Listen to the words of absolution, the sacramental forgiveness of the Church through the ordained priest.
As you listen to the words of forgiveness you may make the sign of the cross with the priest. If he closes by saying, “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good,” answer, “For His mercy endures forever.”
Give thanks to God for forgiving you again. If you recall some serious sin you forgot to tell, rest assured that it has been forgiven with the others, but be sure to confess it in your next Confession.
Do your assigned Penance.
Resolve to return to the Sacrament of Reconciliation often. We Catholics are fortunate to have the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is the ordinary way for us to have our sins forgiven. This sacrament is a powerful help to get rid of our weaknesses, grow in holiness, and lead a balanced and virtuous life.