If you tell a Jewish friend about being saved from sin,” don’t be surprised if he or she does not seem overly concerned. Many equate sin with crimes committed by “America’s Most Wanted.” Most presume that all God really expects of us is to treat other people decently.

However, once a year the reality of sin zooms into crystal clear focus in synagogues throughout the world. Jewish people who attend High Holiday services come face-to-face with their need for forgiveness.

We thought you might like to see excerpts from the prayers which many Jewish people will be reciting on Yom Kippur (which begins at sundown on September 26 and continues through sundown September 27).

Our God and God of our ancestors! Let our prayers come before You and do not hide Yourself from our supplication. For neither are we so arrogant nor hardened to say, “We are righteous and have not sinned,” for truly, truly, we have sinned. May it be Your will, O Lord our God, to forgive all our sins, and pardon all our iniquities.

For the sin which we have committed in Your sight through arrogance of our will,
And for the sin which we have committed before You by breach of trust.
For the sin which we have committed in Your sight by casting off responsibility,
And for the sin which we have committed before You by denying and lying.
For the sin which we have committed in Your sight by evil thoughts,
For all of these, O God of forgiveness,
forgive us, pardon us, grant us atonement.

For the sin which we have committed in Your sight, either knowingly or unknowingly.
And for the sin which we have committed before You through lustful desires.
And for the sin which we have committed before You by not lifting up Your Name.
And for the sin which we have committed before You by passing judgment.
And for the sin which we have committed before You by resisting those in authority.
For all of these, O God of forgiveness,
forgive us, pardon us, grant us atonement.

For the sin which we have committed in Your sight by scoffing,
And for the sin which we have committed before You through talking idly.
And for the sin which we have committed before You through excess in eating and drinking.
For the sin which we have committed in Your sight by yet being proud,
And for the sin which we have committed before You through our lack of zeal.
For all of these, O God of forgiveness,
forgive us, pardon us, grant us atonement.

Avinu Malkeinu (our Father, our King), we have sinned before you!
Avinu Malkeinu, in Your abundant mercy, cleanse us of our guilt before You.
Avinu Malkeinu, bring us back to You in perfect repentance.
Our Father, our King, be gracious unto us and answer us although we have no merits of our own. Deal with us in righteousness and lovingkindness, and save us.

These excerpts are from the traditional Jewish prayer for forgiveness known as the Al Chet. Jews and Gentiles who believe in Jesus can recite these prayers with a sense of remorse and relief, knowing that, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7). But what of those who don’t know Him?

Many will say the prayers by rote, barely noticing the words. But many others will identify with these and the rest of the sins mentioned in the prayer. And they will wonder if God hears, if He forgives and how they can know their sins are covered.

Jews for Jesus branches all over the world will be holding messianic services for Rosh Hashanah (beginning at sundown September 17) as well as for Yom Kippur. Please pray that many will find forgiveness through Jesus this year.

If you can, send your Jewish friends a Rosh Hashanah (New Year) card to let them know you understand this is a special time of year for them. If you live near one of our branches, please consider inviting your Jewish friend to our holiday services. And pray that God will speak to their hearts about the importance of receiving God’s forgiveness on God’s terms.