Contact Us

Can a Sinner Pray to G-d?

Can a Sinner Pray to G-d?

 Email

Question:

I don’t feel that that I have any right to pray to G‑d. I’m not religious at all. Over the years, I’ve committed many sins. Since I’ve turned against G‑d and transgressed His commandments, how can I approach Him in prayer?

Answer:

Each morning, when we wake up, we say in our prayers, “My G‑d, the soul You gave me is pure . . .”

No matter what you do with your life, your soul remains pure. Even at the time you are committing the worst crime, your soul screams inside like a captive woman, remaining faithful to her Beloved Above.

And now you want to take away from her that last opportunity to scream out loud for help?

© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
 Email
Join the Discussion
Sort By:
83 Comments
1000 characters remaining
Anonymous March 26, 2015

Teshuva That's exactly what the Torah demands on each and everyone of us; to be an expert in running and returning. I have the same religious predicament and trust me my friend, nothing changes a person more than entering the path of holiness (prayer,studying torah, charity and mitzvah) Prayer is our main weapon against evil inclination. Do Hitbodedut: giving thanks, asking for forgiveness, confessing our sins, judging our own actions, asking for material and spiritual needs and wants, pray for yourself and others. Note that charity is very important (it plays a major role and you need to do this on a regular basis) The rest that you might also find helpful can be found by learning Torah deeply. Reply

Anonymous April 28, 2014

I do I Know whether I have been Forgiven? Catholics go to a Confession box and are forgiven! I pray twice a day don't don Tefillin, as I do not know how and live an hour and a half's drive from our nearest synagogue in a racist anti-Semitic town. Nu! My question is : How do I know I have been forgiven for my sins? And yes, I am worried as I have some nasty skeletons in my cupboard!!! Reply

Anonymous odessa, Tx August 1, 2011

Can a Sinner Pray to G-d? Yes! A sinner can pray to G-d.How ever one must first understand that it is necessary to ask G-d for forgiveness for ones sins being truthful with Him.You must be completely honest with Him and mean what you've said with true remorse. He gave us the Spark of Life.He can see within us all from the inside out. G-d knows everything,because He is every where and in everything all at once.We are all born with a clean soul,but become diseased with sin and die as a result of our sin separating us from G-d.120yrs that is all we get.Remember G-d is Love! Nothing can be done without His involvement.Some people throughout the Torah have learned all of this the hard way.Lucky for most of us whom have read this we realize we can learn from their mistakes and should thank G-d for being able to do just that. Reply

David Flinkstein London, UK April 26, 2011

Can a Sinner Pray to God If sinners cannot pray to G-d then G-d would be very lonely because no one except someone especially holy such as the president of Israel could pray to G-d, also the Dalai Lama might be able to pray, or perhaps the Pope. Reply

Gavriel Costa Mesa, CA, USA April 21, 2011

A sinner's prayer... And yet King David prayed a sinner's prayer, did he not?

Psalms 51
1 <<To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.>> Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me.
4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight... Reply

Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell Riverside, CA, USA April 21, 2011

Gavriel, we don't pray the sinner's prayer. That is not a Jewish ideology, Reply

Anonymous Södertälje June 9, 2017
in response to Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell:

What? Please explain. Reply

Anonymous Chicago/Tel Aviv, US/Israel April 21, 2011

Re: Read it in Hebrew No ruth it was not addressed to u. That was addressed to the christian missionary-minded comments about interpretation of verses.
thx. Reply

Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell Riverside, CA, USA April 18, 2011

Getting down to the WORDING of the question. CAN (is he/she able to, not should he or she) a SINNER (implying someone is more than just sinning here and there, but is totally devoid of the realization of G-d) pray (meaning to connect with G-d in heart, soul, mind and spirit), TO (meaning a one way conversation) G-d (who, by definition, the person does not believe.) According to the literal wording of the question, the answer then would have to be NO. It would be more than a conundrum. You can't pray to an entity you do not believe exists per your belief system or your actions which exemplify a belief or unbelief system. On the other hand, if you CHANGE the wording of the question to "Can a person who has committed a sin pray to G-d" I would say yes, but it should be to pray for forgiveness by G-d and to tell Him you forgive yourself and will repent and do that sin no more. Only very vile people can be considered sinners, I believe. People like Hitler. Reply

ruth housman marshfield hills, ma April 17, 2011

Re: Read it in Hebrew I am not sure if this was addressed to me.
The answer I will give is that I do not have to read it in Hebrew. In fact, all language is Divine, and all is G_d.

I pay attention to the sound of words and also to the deconstruction of words, across languages, and I can and do form a bridge between them. This is not UN Jewish, because the Mystic part of Judaism is deeply about the wheel of letters.

The language of life itself, DNA, is actually about letters and the movement of letters, and how this changes systemically what happens within our bodies.

to study language is to arrive at great truths, and I am saying, just maybe, I am writing a new kind of dictionary, and in sharing, I am moving deeply across Babel, and a story in which there are keys to the construction of universe itself.

I have been an avid reader and still listen closely and respect others. But I feel, just maybe, I too, have something of importance to teach and that's why I am here, on these pages. I do it, for love. Reply

Milton Belindo Colaco Lisboa, Portugal April 10, 2011

Prayers We must try to avoid offending G-D .
just as we do i really life, avoid offending our friends and neighbours, but we should also ask for forgiveness when we do. acknowledging that we have hurt or done wrong, "Resolve not to repeat the offense again!! Reply

Anonymous long pond, PA December 7, 2010

to Ruth Houseman I love your comment re:understanding the "path" in empathy. Terrific concept. Reply

Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell Riverside, CA, USA December 7, 2010

Re: feeling good and clean. I think a BIG reason for all religion is that people inherently feel bad about themselves and need something external to tell them that if they do this or that action, they will feel clean and good inside. I totally reject that, because there is just so much you can do externally to justify your past actions. I think it's more important to feel love for yourself, to believe we each are special to G-d, and that we have a purpose in life to fulfill. It's not how many Sabbath candles or how many times we stand up in Shul or Chabad and say repetitive prayers that will heal a person. For a while. it will feel good and feel clean. But KNOWING you are good and clean is totally DIFFERENT. It is something you need to do when you look in the mirror and smile at yourself. It's nurturing your inner needs when something is empty inside. It's realizing that running away, doing evil, hurting others, won't heal your inner sadness. When you err, forgive yourself. Love G-d. Reply

Flinkstein London, UK December 7, 2010

Can a Sinner Pray to G-d? You could perhaps apply a little discipline upon yourself to get right with G-d, I don't mean that you should go as far as self inflicted flagellation, but on the other have whatever makes you feel clean and good again. Reply

ruth housman marshfield hills, ma December 6, 2010

Beauty is Truth (Keats) Thank you, Karen Joyce. That's the highest compliment I could possibly receive.

This too, is beautiful. I paused in front of this for a long time: by the artist, Claude Monet:

I would like to paint the way a bird sings. Reply

Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell Riverside, CA, USA December 6, 2010

Oh, Ruth, I love you like a sister .... Your writings are so beautiful. I am pasting the saying about the soul having no rainbow if the eyes had no tears onto all of my g mails I send as a signature. Thank you so much. Reply

ruth housman marshfield hills, ma December 6, 2010

The Great Spirit in the Sky Hi Karen Joyce, that is something to ponder, what you wrote, above.

I purchased a card the other day and it is a Native American saying, so beautiful, and applicable to us all I will repeat it here:

"the soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears."

It's too beautiful a card to write inside, so I sent it to a good friend, an American Indian who I know is innocent, and still behind bars, and I did what he requested in general with cards sent to him, which is: I left this blank, telling him I respect his will, to have people keep on passing this forward.

Dear Karen Joyce, it's about LOVE. Isn't it?
why else would we be here?

Happy Chanukah, Chabad! There is a most beautiful story on line about an old man on a bench and how he cried when given a menorah he first refused to look at. But something deep did touch his soul. Reply

Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell Riverside, CA, USA December 4, 2010

Ruth, let me add to your comment... A native American Indian I met once categorized Jews and Muslims and Christians into "Warrior" and pagan religions. I asked how he could say that. He answered, "Aren't all your heroes named such because of their war efforts?" And for Christianity, they are pagan because they say they "drink blood" and "eat flesh" (communion). I guess to them, G-d is nature and the earth and the Great Spirit in the Sky. Reply

Reb Yehonatan Levy Chicago, IL December 3, 2010

to Noah Paul That is basically a correct ides about the yetzer hara... using Hitler as the example is extreme - however, my father (OBM) was a Holocaust survivor, one thing he taught me was to recognize that there is a difference between human frailty and true evil, that there is a difference between mistakes and deliberate action, and that often times ignorance is mistaken for truth because it is presented with more effective propaganda then what is actual. Reply

Reb Yehonatan Levy Chicago, IL December 3, 2010

Purity of the Soul First of all read it in Hebrew... If you can't read it in Hebrew and you must rely on a translation of a translation then you need to admit that maybe you are bringing a bias based in Christian thought rather than seeing that it is originally a Hebrew concept. The Torah has within itself all the functional ways, rules, laws and principals of how interpret it... Therefore before you spout your own ideas about knowing what a passok (verse) means, first realize your own lack of knowledge about the basics of language and culture. A dialogue is not the same as dissemination of information (the easiest way to set forth misinformation is to have a portion of it being true. this is not a forum for missionaries, and basically you are out of context and you have no idea what halachah is for and/or about.)

If you really want to know then go study (as Hillel said... 'what is hateful to you do not do to another, the rest is commentary - go study it.) The judgmental attitude you are presenting is not needed. Reply

ruth housman marshfield hills, ma December 3, 2010

the radical amazement of a radical notion When we read the Biblical stories, there are so many that are very dark, and G_d is vengeful, and also asking for man to do somethings that seem to be contrary to the commandments themselves, as do not murder. Many turned from the notion of a God of mercy when they read these violent stories.

It almost seems that G_d is evolving, and perhaps this is deliberate. Because our definition does preclude such a G_d, of vengeance. it is deeply problematical.

It could be we've all been deliberately led, for veiled reasons, down the garden path, and I mean this as in we've been led astray for a reason. And maybe also, it IS about the garden path, namely the path back to the GARDEN. I will point out that empathy, contains the word path. And I believe this story is meant to lead us into greater and greater compassion so in concert we can, and will, change the world. Reply

Related Topics
This page in other languages