People have often been confused about repentance; sometimes they don't even know they're confused.
They think it's something they can receive, like forgiveness.
When I hear somebody talking about it as if it's something else, a term that sort of sounds like it but is a completely different thing, penance, I know they've got it twisted. They speak of it like they can give God something to make up for their sins.
For one, to repent is not to pay for what you've done. If it was, it would defeat the whole purpose of believing in our Savior would it not? Why would you need Jesus Christ the Lord if you could simply pray and pay for whatever you have done to fall short??
What repentance really is though is the acknowledgment of your former ways not being the ways of God and your change and turnaround to align yourself with God through his Word, faith, Truth; it's the departure, neglect and abandonment of old and evil ways; it's walking in the Light. Repent means turn "(BibleStudyGuide.org)...from sin. It is a change in mind from sin to obey God bringing about a change in action." It means to forsake those old, evil ways. It means to decide to go a new way, the strait and narrow way. In the Bible, it says, so may times, to repent. Obviously, this tells us that it is something within our abilities to do. It is something we choose, something we decide to do, to move forward in, to come into. It's something within our reach. It's something that is up to us.
When you ask for forgiveness, you are asking for what only He can give to you. He does it (God in Christ). When you repent, you do what only you can do, in walking with Him.