Is The Sinners Prayer Helpful or Even Biblical?

Posted: January 19, 2012 by mezmcconnell in Discipleship, Doctrine & Theology, Evangelism, Niddrie Community Church, Video, Websites
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I remember when I first became interested in the Christian faith and somebody gave me a little booklet which included something called, ‘The Sinners Prayer’ at the end. I had no real clue as to what it really meant but I viewed it as the way in to the Christian faith. There is an interesting little video clip here that I found on ‘Christianity For The Rest Of Us’

Years later I discovered that the little prayer I said, and thought had gotten me entrance into the kingdom of heaven, wasn’t even actually in the Bible. Since that discovery I have led countless people to Christ and  have avoided using it for fear of (inadvertently) confusing people into thinking that this prayer is an essential element of salvation. I have seen many people tell a ‘seeker’ to, ‘repeat after me’ and then take them through some version of the sinners prayer before loudly proclaiming that they are now ‘saved‘. People are saved when they trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins and not because they followed some written formula, however helpful people may find it to be.

We need to be very clear and simple with people when they are starting on their Christian life. I will always tell people that I cannot repent for them in their moment of confession and I will simply advise them to just ask for the Lord’s forgiveness for their sins and to simply put their faith and trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. When they have done that then I will usually say a prayer echoing what they have said and once again thanking God whilst repeating the essential elements of the gospel. I avoid phrases like, ‘ask Jesus into your heart’ which has no biblical warrant and is theologically incorrect when we remember that the bowel is the seat of the emotion in Scripture. Technically, we should be asking Jesus into ‘our bowels’ which may not play well in a glossy, evangelistic tract.

Have a look at this clip and see what you think.

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