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Help Me to be Gentle With Myself

Loving God, so many times when I look back at my life, I focus on my failures and inadequacies—all the things I didn’t do and should have done, and the many things I didn’t do well. I am my own worst critic, and often I am far more critical than kind.

Of course, my life has not been perfect. Yes, I did make mistakes, I failed, and I sinned. But none of that makes me a failure. You still love me unconditionally, and I want to love myself that way, too. Teach me to be gentle with myself.

My flaws do not make me a loser. I am a winner precisely because I am made in your image and likeness—and even with my flaws, that will never change. Besides, there is nothing you cannot forgive. You have forgiven my worst sins and set me free.

In being gentle with myself, I want to be set free from the harsh, judgmental attitudes I so often manifest toward myself. I want to learn to be as kind and gentle toward myself as you have been to me. I believe that, with your help, I can learn to relate to myself in this way.

For your gentleness and for the gracious love, mercy, and compassion you show to me every day, dear God, I thank you with all my heart.


Litany of Forgiveness

For the times I lacked compassion and concern for others—forgive me, Lord.

For my failures to pray and take the time to talk to you—forgive me, Lord.

For not sharing my resources: my time, talent, and treasure—forgive me, Lord.

For holding grudges and refusing to have a forgiving heart—forgive me, Lord.

For the times I have criticized and gossiped—forgive me, Lord.

For not caring for myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually—forgive me, Lord.

For the ways I misused nature and damaged the environment—forgive me, Lord.

For my prejudices, biases, and deliberate acts of discrimination—forgive me, Lord.

For the misuse and abuse of the wonderful gift of sexuality—forgive me, Lord.

For failing to see your face in the homeless and the helpless—forgive me, Lord.

For believing I could save myself—forgive me, Lord.

For not living fully for you—forgive me, Lord.

For my lack of faith, hope, and love—forgive me, Lord.

For doubting that you can and will forgive me unconditionally—forgive me, Lord.

For doubting that you love me with an everlasting love—forgive me, Lord.


Source: Excerpted from Prayers for Later Years by William Rabior (807596). Copyright © 2001, William Rabior. To order, visit or call 800-325-9521.

Published inReflections