Handwashing Prayers


I love to make sorry prayers into an activity. The idea for this one is that cleaning our hands is a metaphor for the forgiveness Jesus gives us.


All you need is a bowl of water and a towel.

What does the Bible say:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

How to:

Take it in turns to slowly wash your hands.

As you wash, either silently or out loud, say sorry to God for any thoughts, words or deeds.

Then dry your hands.

You might also want to finish by saying sorry to the person you have wronged, especially if they are in the room!

Further thoughts:

This activity prayer is part of our weekly Shabbat ritual which we do each Friday. We find it very helpful as a family to have an allocated weekly time to say sorry to each other.

When I did this the other day with a family, one girl said, “That’s like what Mummy did when she went completely under the water”, referring to her Mum’s recent baptism. I hadn’t ever thought of it like that, but I think she’s right.

In our Shabbat meal, we say these words:

The Bible says that only those with clean hands and a pure heart can stand in God’s

holy place (Psalm 24).

We wash our hands with water and ask Jesus to make our hearts clean.

Then we take it in turns to wash our hands in a bowl of water, or pass it on. As we wash our hands, we say our own sorry to God either out loud or silently, or we use these words:

I wash my hands to Messiah, the hope of glory, to serve Him only.

For me, it’s really important to make this optional. It’s not my job to decide when and for what everyone else should repent. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job. We encourage, but don’t make our children join in, and certainly give visitors the option of just passing the bowl on to the next person. However, given the opportunity, we’ve found that it’s often one of the most profound moments in our meal, and sometimes in our week. We also sometimes apologise to each other, another important part of family life together.

This activity would also work well at bath time or whenever you have water handy!