Prayer before confession

7 Powerful Prayers Before Confession

Are you looking to pray some prayers before confession that will help you draw closer to the Lord and make the best confession of your life?

Then you gotta check out these prayers below!

7 Catholic Prayers Before Confession

When preparing for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, it is encouraged that we prepare ourselves not only with a thorough examination of conscience but also with a sincere time of prayer.

The following prayers are intended to be prayed shortly before entering the confessional:

1. A Traditional Prayer Before Confession

traditional prayer before confession

Oh my God, without You I can do nothing. You have told me, “Ask and you shall receive.” In full confidence in Your promise, therefore, I beg You to accept the confession I am about to make and grant me true contrition for my many offenses. Saviour of the world who gave Yourself to the death of the cross to save sinners, look with mercy on me, a sinner.

Regard not my wickedness in such a manner to forget Your pardon. For my offenses I deserve condemnation, but presuming upon the ransom of Your blood, I ask forgiveness. Heal my wounds, Lord Jesus. Send the light of Your truth into my soul so that I may worthily confess my shortcomings. Give me a contrite heart and true sorrow for my offenses. Although I am unworthy of Your love, because of it I come to You for forgiveness. Have mercy on me, O Lord, have mercy! Amen.

2. A Prayer to the Holy Spirit Before an Examination of Conscience

prayers before confession holy spirit

Come Holy Spirit into my soul, Enlighten my mind that I may know the sins I ought to confess, and grant me Your grace to confess them fully, humbly, and with a contrite heart. Help me to firmly resolve not to commit them again. O Blessed Virgin, Mother of my Redeemer, mirror of innocence and sanctity, and refuge of penitent sinners, intercede for me through the Passion of Your Son, that I may obtain the grace to make a good confession.

All you blessed Angels and Saints of God, pray for me, a most miserable sinner, that I may repent from my evil ways, that my heart may henceforth be forever united with yours in eternal love. Amen.

3. A Plea to God Before Confession

prayers before confession

Oh my God, I don’t want to go to hell. I know that because of my many sins I deserve to go there. Help me get rid of my sins. I don’t want to lose my soul in everlasting torment, without all happiness, banished from You forever. Help me realize that I shall have to make up for my venial sins, too, and that some of the punishment due to all sin, even if we escape hell, must be paid in purgatory. Help me do some real penance to make up for my sins, and get rid of part of my purgatory before I die.

Oh my God, now I see very clearly that I have not given You the service that I owe You for so many reasons. I have abused Your wonderful gifts, using them to offend You who are so good and so lovable. I sinned even in Your presence. I saddened Your Heart at the very moment when You were looking on me with perfect love.

I was so blind and ungrateful as to love creatures more than You, my creator, who because You are infinitely good and lovable deserve all my love; I preferred my own pleasure to do Your will. Pardon me, O my God, for all the sins of my whole life. I am sorry for them. I hate them from the bottom of my heart because You hate them. I beg of You, say to me, “Your sins are forgiven.” Amen.

RELATED: The 3 Types of Sacraments in the Catholic Church

4. A Simple Prayer Before Confession

simple prayers before confession

Receive my confession, O most loving and gracious Lord Jesus Christ, only hope for the salvation of my soul. Grant to me true contrition of soul, so that day and night I may by penance make satisfaction for my many sins. Savior of the world, O good Jesus, Who gave Yourself to the death of the Cross to save sinners, look upon me, most wretched of all sinners; have pity on me, and give me the light to know my sins, true sorrow for them, and a firm purpose of never committing them again.

O gracious Virgin Mary, Immaculate Mother of Jesus, I implore you to obtain for me by your powerful intercession these graces from your Divine Son.

St. Joseph, pray for me. Amen.

5. A Prayer to St. Gerard Majella, Patron of a Good Confession

prayer before confession to St. Gerard

St. Gerard, Patron of a Good Confession, who gave courage to souls whom fear and shame had overcome; who gave sorrow to their hearts, resolution to their wills, truth to their faltering lips; help me to make a good Confession. Enable me to know my sins, to be truly sorry for them, and to be firmly resolved, with God’s grace, never to sin again.

Help me to confess my sins humbly and sincerely, to confess them in the spirit of faith, as confessing them to Our Lord Himself. Stand by me in this Confession, O gentle Saint, an angel of God sent to free me from sin. Amen.

6. A Simple Prayer to the Holy Spirit Before Confession

A prayer before confession

O Holy Spirit. Source of all light, Spirit of wisdom, of understanding, and of knowledge, come to my assistance and enable me to make a good confession. Enlighten me, and help me now to know my sins as one day I shall be force to recognize them before Thy judgment seat. Bring to my mind the evil which I have done and the good which I have neglected.

Permit me not to be blinded by self-love. Grant me, moreover, heartfelt sorrow for my transgressions, and the grace of a sincere confession, so that I may be forgiven and admitted into Thy friendship. Amen.

RELATED: 5 Prayers After Confession

7. A Prayer Before Confession by St. Alphonsus Ligouri

St. Alphonsus Prayer Before Confession

O my God, help me to make a good confession. Mary, my dearest Mother, pray to Jesus for me. Help me to examine my conscience, enable me to obtain true sorrow for my sins, and beg for me the grace rather to die than to offend God again.

Lord Jesus, light of our souls, who enlightens every man coming into this world, enlighten my conscience and my heart by Thy Holy Spirit, so that I may perceive all that is displeasing to Thy divine majesty and may expiate it by humble confession, true contrition, and sincere repentance. Amen.

Why Pray These Prayers Before Confession

Making a good confession can be challenging for many Catholics, and like anything in life, how well we prepare to confess our sins has a direct affect on the manner in which we confess them. 

Though the Lord is always waiting to forgive us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we do not always dispose are hearts well to receive His Mercy. I know this all too well by personal experience.

Too often, after mustering up the courage to confess my sins, I make a half-hearted examination of conscience or I have an attitude of “let’s get this over with”.

RELATED: Examination of Conscience & the Beatitudes

But as you and I both know, this is not how the Lord wants us to approach Him in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

As Pope Francis once said, going to confession is not like going to the dry cleaners to get out a stain… it’s an encounter with Jesus who is waiting to forgive us and offer us the salvation and peace only He can give.

Therefore, my hope is that by adding in just one of these prayers before confession you will feel better disposed to experience a very real encounter with Jesus Christ. 

Best Catholic Books about Confession

Would you like to learn more about the Sacrament of Reconciliation? Or dive even deeper into how you can make a great confession?

Here are some of the best books out there about Confession:

1. 7 Secrets of Confession by Vinny Flynn

Flynn unpacks secrets that illuminate the great spiritual beauty and depth within Confession. If you do not yet eagerly anticipate this sacrament the way you do Communion, this book is for you. Flynn’s insights will revolutionize your understanding of Confession into a lifetime opportunity for healing and holiness.

Approachable yet profound, these pages may change your life by initiating an exciting personal journey into the heart of Christ. Simple yet profound, this book deserves a place in every Catholic home and parish to awaken people to the gifts of this transformative sacrament.

2. Confession: Its Fruitful Practice with an Examination of Conscience by The Benedictine Nuns of Perpetual Adoration

This practical guide provides a thorough, detailed approach to making a good confession. Going well beyond most catechisms, it unpacks key elements like performing an examination of conscience, cultivating heartfelt contrition, committing to genuine amendment, avoiding sinful occasions, confessing sins fully, and completing assigned penance.

With clarity and depth, the steps for a spiritually fruitful confession are mapped out from careful self-reflection to speaking with the priest to doing penance. For those desiring a deeper understanding of this sacrament’s power and beauty, this little book offers invaluable wisdom for opening yourself to God’s mercy and grace through confession.

3. Frequent Confession: Its Place in the Spiritual Life by Fr. Benedict Baur 

Discover the immense spiritual advantages of frequent confession in this exceptional book by Fr. Benedict Baur. With clarity and wisdom, he explains how regular confession not only vanquishes sin but repairs damage from sin through increased grace. Learn to examine your conscience thoroughly, make a practical amendment, and focus on overcoming root sins.

Fr. Baur provides concrete ways to revive your love for God, conform to His will, and attain Christian perfection. This invaluable resource will enrich your sacramental life, inspire greater charity, and motivate you to more frequent, fruitful reception of communion. Deepen your spirituality immensely through the healing gift of confession.

4. Pocket Guide to the Sacrament of Reconciliation by Fr. Mike Schmitz & Fr. Josh Johnson

This beautiful, prayerful guide by Fr. Mike Schmitz and Fr. Josh Johnson will enrich your experience of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. With wisdom and warmth, they explain how to thoroughly examine your conscience, get to the root of habitual sins, revive contrition, and overcome fear or difficulty in confessing.

Includes reflective questions, scripture, and real-life stories that provide profound yet accessible insights. Its compact size and durable cover make it perfect for carrying into the confessional. This book will reinvigorate your appreciation of God’s mercy and transform your reception of this healing sacrament.

5. Lord, Have Mercy: The Healing Power of Confession by Dr. Scott Hahn

In this illuminating book, Dr. Scott Hahn unveils the Catholic Church’s teachings on confession, penance, and reconciliation. Drawing on Scripture, early Church history, lives of the saints, and more, Hahn reveals the living scriptural heart of the sacrament of reconciliation.

He presents the Catholic perspective on sin and mercy, elucidating in clear language the meaning of Jesus’ promise “I am the door; if anyone enters by Me, he will be saved.” More than a Bible study, this book offers thoughtful insights and practical wisdom to help readers gain a deeper knowledge of themselves and Christ through this misunderstood sacrament.

How do you prepare to make a good confession?

Let me know below in the comment box!

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>> What virtues are and why they matter in the pursuit of holiness

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