Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Oops, I Never Really Explained What the "Sinner's Prayer" Is

I realized after last week's post about the Sinner's Prayer I never really explained what this Sinner's Prayer was. I assumed many people knew the Christianese term. I was wrong. So, I'm going to succinctly try to lay out the most widely understood idea of the Sinner's Prayer.

There is no exact way to present a Sinner's Prayer. It's not a specific scripture, and some would argue that it's not even a Biblical concept. I disagree with the idea that it's not a Biblical concept and talked about that last week's post. So what is it?

In Baptist churches, at least, it usually happens when the Pastor finishes preaching his sermon. He'll then pray. During that prayer at some point he'll ask people in the audience if they want to ask Jesus to be their Leader and Forgiver. Then he'll say to repeat a prayer after him.

The prayer is usually pretty short and says something along the lines of:

Dear Jesus, I know I'm a sinner. I want to ask you to forgive my sins. I believe that you died on the cross for my sins and were raised from the dead three days later. I want you to be my Lord (Leader) and Savior (Forgiver). Come into my life and change me forever.

That's not exact. The prayer changes from preacher to preacher, but you get the gist. Then pastors will ask those that prayed the prayer to raise their hands. And following that many pastors will encourage people to come forward and tell everyone in the church service that day the decision they made.

I went into great detail last week about how the Sinner's Prayer alone doesn't save anyone. It doesn't hold any magic powers. It is what the person means when they pray that really matters.

A couple of points I didn't make last week:

1) If the person really meant business with God it will show in their lives. They will start to live in a way that pleases God.

2) I would also like to note that I really like encouraging people not to recite a canned prayer, but to say a simple prayer to God that comes from their heart. I particularly like doing this when I'm talking to them about Jesus one on one. The prayers are usually simple and powerful.

I hope that clears some things up that I wasn't able to properly articulate over Twitter. If you have any more questions email, twitter, or leave a comment.