What prayers are appropriate for repentance by individuals?

Three steps for repentance

According to Torah, there are three-steps for repenting to G-d and going onto the proper path. Quoting from Mishneh Torah by Rambam (Maimonides):

Jacob's ladder

1. “And what is repentance? It is when the sinner abandons his sin, removing it from his thoughts, and is completely resolved not to do it again. [I.e. he will from now on push out from his mind any impulse to repeat the sin.]

2. Consequently, he [verbally] regrets what has happened in the past [i.e. what he thought, said or did] and [verbally] accepts G-d, the Knower of secrets, as his witness that he will never return to such a sin again.

3. And he needs to confess verbally and state the resolutions that he made in his heart.”

To assist Noahides in their daily prayers, Ask Noah International has published a booklet of daily prayers for Noahides:

“Prayers, Blessings, Principles of Faith, and Divine Service for Noahides,” by Rabbi J. Immanuel Schochet o.b.m. and Rabbi Moshe Weiner of Jerusalem. From this booklet:

The Power of Personal Repentance

Just as a person needs to examine his actions to see if they are sinful, and repent from those which are, he likewise needs to search his personality for the bad traits he has, and to repent from those also and correct his ways – such as traits of anger, hate, jealousy, sarcasm, pursuing money and honor, or pursuing physical desires and the like. These last traits are in some ways more evil than sins that merely involve action. Therefore the prophet said, “Let the wicked abandon his way, and the man of iniquity his thoughts; let him return to G-d, and He will have compassion upon him, and [let him return] to our G-d, for He will pardon abundantly.” [Isaiah 55:7]

A Prayer of the Repentant

A daily confessional prayer for Noahides suggested by Rabbi J. Immanuel Schochet:

O G-d, I have erred, sinned and willfully transgressed before You, and I have done that which is evil in Your eyes, especially with the sin(s) of … (state the specific sins or errors).

I am sincerely ashamed of my sins, and I repent and firmly undertake not to do so again.

Please G-d, in Your infinite grace and compassion, forgive my sins and transgressions and grant me atonement, as it is written: “Let the wicked abandon his way, and the man of iniquity his thoughts; let him return to G-d, and He will have compassion upon him, and [let him return] to our G-d, for He will pardon abundantly.” [Isaiah. 55:7] And it is written: “Do I desire at all that the wicked should die, says the L-rd, G-d; it is rather that he return from his ways and live!” [Ezekiel 18:23]

Nighttime, before going to bed, is an especially appropriate time for a person to take some personal time to focus on self-evaluation and repenting to G-d. Here are suggestions for other verses and Psalms that Noahides may wish to include as prayers before going to bed. They are selected from the traditional Jewish prayers:

Psalms chapters 91, 121, 51 (especially useful for repentance), and verse 31:6.

These are in addition to prayers of repentance and for forgiveness from G-d, at the times one chooses for prayers.

Some things to remember

A Gentile is not only responsible for observing just the specific Seven Noahide Commandments. Each commandment has many logical offshoots; for example, the prohibition against murder and injury teaches that a person must also refrain from spreading slanderous gossip about others. Therefore, Gentiles are also required to act in the morally upright ways that G-d expects. It is only that transgressions of the specific Seven Noahide Commandments are the most severe. For more information, see The Divine Code by Rabbi Moshe Weiner.

The above sincere personal repentance is fully effective for removing the sins between a person and G-d. But for one who steals from his fellow, damages him or harms him, whether physically like hitting him, or emotionally like cursing him, in all these cases, his personal repentance is not completely effective until he also appeases the person he wronged and asks forgiveness from him, and if the person agrees.

At the same time, it is forbidden for a person who was wronged to be cruel and not let himself be appeased. Rather he should be forgiving and agree to pardon the one who sinned against him, if he asks for forgiveness with a complete and willing heart. Afterwards, the one who harmed should complete his process of personal repentance.