What Does the Bible Say About..? Logo

What Does the Bible Say About..Praying for Forgiveness?

I work with a man who sings at revival meetings, and he told me one day that as he stood in front of the crowd he asked how many believed in Christ. Then he asked how many believed that through Christ's sacrifice, all our sins past present and future were forgiven. Then he told them that is an absolute lack of faith to pray for forgiveness when it has already been given to us that believe. I always feel i should ask for forgiveness for my sins. Can you provide any actual biblical references supporting the practice of praying for forgiveness. I have found Old Testament references but he says that after Christ died we are under a different covenant and set of rules and that all references to praying for forgiveness in the bible are prior to His ascension to heaven. Sorry to be so long winded but this is troubling to me, I am not sure I am doing what is right. I don't want to argue with him, but rather know what is appropriate to show faith.

Answer

It would be interesting to see how he deals with Acts 8:18-24. Here is a case of a Christian whose greed overcame him. Peter rebukes him and tells him to pray for forgiveness. He then asks Peter to pray for or with him that he might be forgiven.

I agree that Christís blood brings forgiveness of sins past, present, and future. I even agree that God may be willing to forgive even if we donít ask; otherwise what happens to a Christian who dies before he has the opportunity to ask for forgiveness. But I also know that God wants us to ask for forgiveness. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

This latter verse, especially, shows that God wants us to acknowledge our sins. And this only two verses after John says that the blood of Christ continually cleanses us. The value of praying for forgiveness comes more in making us aware of our sins than in Godís willingness to forgive.