The Sinner’s Prayer
I’ve been faithfully doing evangelism now for twenty-three years. During that time I’ve used a variety of gospel tracts but prefer ones that include a salvation prayer at the end. Sometimes the Lord will lead you to approach people who don’t have time to talk but are willing to read something later. One day I stopped at a convenience store in Virginia and gave a tract to a young Russian woman working behind the counter. When I happened to stop by there again the next day, this woman thanked me for the tract. I found out she prayed a prayer like the one pictured here and gotten saved!
Nevertheless, there are Christians opposed to leading people in a “sinner’s prayer.” One reason often cited is “it’s not in the Bible.” Yet we have other generally accepted traditions not specifically mentioned in Scripture. Sunday schools cannot be found in the Bible yet many churches have them. The same thing could be said about altar calls for salvation.
“Sinner’s prayer” critics seem to think when someone is ready to get saved, he or she will initiate their own salvation. One time I went street witnessing with a minister who tried to get potential converts to cry out to be saved. I didn’t see any of them give their lives to the Lord.
Not all sinners who are convicted of their need to get right with God will immediately know what to do or say. One example in Scripture is the Philippian jailer who asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30) On the night of my conversion, I didn’t become born again until responding to my brother-in-law’s offer to pray with him. The power of God flowed through me and my life hasn’t been the same since.
The “sinner’s prayer” is simply a tool to guide people into making a decision for Christ. So the next time you witness to someone who recognizes their need for salvation, don’t be afraid to ask to pray with them. But instead of calling it the “sinner’s prayer”, I prefer the term “prayer of salvation.” Once a sinner accepts Jesus, he is no longer a sinner but a saint.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” - 2 Corinthians 5:17