Prayers for Repentance/Spiritual Knowledge


I typically have difficulty in knowing whether or not I need to go to confession, so I usually try to ask God to show me my sins in the proper light and tell me what he wants me to do. But more often than not, I feel confused and don’t know what God wants from me. I argue every which way on certain things in my life that could be confessed, but I never reach a conclusion. I’ve always been pretty spiritually blind (I think it’s John 9 that talks about sin blinding us?), not being very holy at all. So I don’t trust my own judgment.

Does anyone know what to do in this situation? What things do you usually say when asking God to enlighten you about the state of your soul? Are there any good prayers or quotes or bits of reading that you think have to do with repentance and trying to see what God wants me to confess or understand?


If in doubt, go, and let the advice of the confessor teach your conscience.

Most priests have said, “You just get your body there, and the Holy Spirit and I will do the rest.”



Chapter 6
1 1 2 For the leader; with stringed instruments, “upon the eighth.” A psalm of David. 2 Do not reprove me in your anger, LORD, nor punish me in your wrath. 3 Have pity on me, LORD, for I am weak; heal me, LORD, for my bones are trembling. 4 3 In utter terror is my soul-- and you, LORD, how long…? 5 4 Turn, LORD, save my life; in your mercy rescue me. 6 5 For who among the dead remembers you? Who praises you in Sheol? 7 I am wearied with sighing; all night long tears drench my bed; my couch is soaked with weeping. 8 My eyes are dimmed with sorrow, worn out because of all my foes. 9 Away from me, all who do evil! The LORD has heard my weeping. 10 The LORD has heard my prayer; the LORD takes up my plea. 11 My foes will be terrified and disgraced; all will fall back in sudden shame.


suggest the Ignatian practice of the daily examen at the close of the day or some set time daily (this is the short form, find a good Ignatian–Jesuit–prayer book for the full guide)
Pray for enlightenment to the Holy Spirit
review the events of the day
acknowledge the feelings that arise from the remembered experiences
pray from those feelings
express contrition for sins
make a resolution for tomorrow
pray the Our Father.

If you are having trouble forming your conscience, study a good concise moral theology guide, or simply meditate prayerfully with the 10 commandments and the beatitudes over the course of the next few weeks. Fr. Kane’s classic book on How to Make a Good Confession is one of the best.

when in doubt confess it. If it is objectively wrong, confess it. If you are becoming too scrupulous, your confessor will tell you. Try to go to the same priest all the time when you find a good confessor.


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