Although we can try to develop character in our children through various methods and programs, only God can bring about permanent change in a child’s heart. Before you begin leading your children through this study on forgiveness, spend time alone with God interceding for His help.
You can use the sample prayer below to guide you, or build your own prayer using the verses provided under “Scripture-guided prayer.”
Loving and gracious Father, in You we have redemption through Jesus’ blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of Your grace that You lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding (Ephesians 1:7-8). Lord, You are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love. You do not harbour Your anger forever and You do not treat us as our sins deserve. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is Your love for those who fear You; as far as the east is from the west, so far have You removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:8-12). The depth of Your unending mercy and love is overwhelming. Thank you, Jesus, for enduring great pain and sacrifice so that our sins can be forgiven. Your death was the ultimate expression of Your love for us.
Humanly, I lack the ability to love and offer grace as You do, but the promise of Your Spirit living in me gives me hope. I confess my hard-hearted tendency to harbour bitterness, anger and unforgiveness. I pray that out of Your glorious riches You would strengthen me with power through Your Spirit in my inner being.
Lord Jesus, in faith I ask that You would establish Your presence in my heart. I need to be filled completely with You in order to experience Your power in a way that allows me to understand how wide and long and high and deep Your love is. I want to practically experience the love of Christ – the love that is beyond human understanding – so that I may be filled completely with all the fullness of You (Ephesians 3:16-19). Thank you for the hope I have in You! Because You live in me, I can be a grace-filled, loving person who forgives with generous mercy (1 John 4:12-13).
Lord, I bring ________ and ________ before You and I ask that You would give them a complete understanding of Your forgiveness. Help them to repent of their sins with a godly sorrow as opposed to a worldly sorrow. May Your Holy Spirit fill their hearts with a desire to be forgiven, not just for their salvation, but because they know how much their sin saddens You.
I pray that ________’s and ________’s spiritual growth will not be hindered by the faulty belief that they are undeserving of Your forgiveness or by the bitterness of unforgiveness. Instead I ask that You will enable them to embrace Your forgiveness and readily forgive others (1 John 2:10-11). Please send Your Holy Spirit to reveal any feelings of anger, rage, bitterness and resentment that they are unknowingly keeping in their hearts. I pray they will recognize these feelings as temptations from Satan to be unforgiving. At these times, may they turn to You and ask for Your Holy Spirit to enable them to forgive others as You have forgiven them (Matthew 6:14-15).
We have been the recipients of much undeserved grace and forgiveness. Empower us with Your mercy so that we willingly put up with each other and bear with one another in love, forgiving as You forgive us (Colossians 3:13, Ephesians 1:6-7, Isaiah 55:7). Please fill our home with Your gracious love so that we are tolerant instead of being easily angered and forgiving instead of keeping records of wrong (1 Corinthians 13:5).
Please pour into our hearts Your Spirit of wisdom and patience to inspire us to overlook the offenses of others (Proverbs 19:11, Galatians 5:22). In Jesus name, I pray that our family would walk in the freedom of the forgiveness Jesus established for us on the cross, so our relationships are all a reflection of Your grace. Amen.
Scripture-guided prayer for parents
Pray through one or more of the selected Scriptures under each heading. Focus on listening to God and allowing His Spirit to direct you as you pray.
Begin by letting God know how much you appreciate His love, grace, mercy and forgiveness.
Psalm 86:5-7 | Psalm 103:1-5 | Micah 7:18-19 | Ephesians 1:3-8 | Colossians 1:13-14
Acknowledge when and how you are tempted to be unforgiving or hard-hearted.
Psalm 51:3-4,17 | Daniel 9:4-5, 18-19 | Matthew 6:14-15 | Mark 11:24-25 | Ephesians 4:31 | 1 John 1:5-7, 9-11
Thank God for ways you have seen grace and forgiveness exhibited in your family.
Ask God to enable you and your family to offer others forgiveness readily.
Proverbs 19:11 | Matthew 18:21-22 | Ephesians 4:2-3, 32 | Colossians 3:12-14 | 2 John 5-6