-The Sinner’s Prayer

Over the years I’ve become increasingly concerned with one tactic of some well-intentioned ambassadors for Christ: leading a person in the “sinner’s prayer.” It can be meaningful, but it has a liability.


 Greg Koukl

Over the years I’ve become increasingly concerned with one tactic of some well-intentioned ambassadors for Christ:  leading a person in the “sinner’s prayer.”  It can be meaningful, but it has a liability.

The prayer goes something like this: “Lord Jesus, I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins so I could be forgiven. I receive You as my Lord and savior. Thank You for coming into my life. Amen.”

Now, the prayer itself is fine. I prayed a version of it in 1973, initiating my own walk with Christ. I’ve used it since to assist others in expressing their faith for the first time.

On occasion, though, I notice something alarming. When I ask if a particular person is a Christian, the response I hear is, “Well, they prayed the prayer.” It’s as if the words were magic; if someone just recites them, they’re in.

I fear we’ve inoculated a whole generation of people who got a partial injection of Christianity and are now resistant to the real thing. They prayed the sinner’s prayer, got their “fire insurance,” and then disappeared, never to be seen again. When confronted with the Gospel anew they shrug, “Been there, done that. Now leave me alone. I have a life to live.”

Here’s the antidote: The goal of an ambassador should never be getting someone to pray a prayer, but rather to follow Jesus. When we emphasize deciding for Christ instead of living for Him, we often get spiritual miscarriages instead of spiritual births. Our sense of safety can’t come from simply saying a prayer.

So the next time you lead someone to Christ, consider bypassing the sinner’s prayer. There’s no precedent for it in the Bible anyway. In the New Testament, baptism served the function of heralding one’s entry into the Body of Christ.

Rather, enjoin the one who is spiritually hungry to satisfy his appetite day by day by following the Savior. Give him some guidelines on how to do that. Tell him about prayer, fellowship, and Bible study. Instruct him in forgiveness, regeneration, and justification.

Don’t let him forget, though, being born again is the beginning, not the end.


The Sinner’s Prayer



2 Comments on -The Sinner’s Prayer

  1. And all we sometime needs help from the Lord and from of friends encourage and good word to be glad and joy and most import is the word of life to satisfied our hungry souls and mind and spirit and set our through to better level in God and find peace and good harmony daily,thanks to him that daily we can find him and joy and health ,thanks and bless ans pray for us here in the sweden,and for revival ,bless,keijo sweden

  2. Have you ever told someone when preaching the gospel they need to repent and be baptized as part of the Gospel message? Acts 2:38

    If not, then it is a different Gospel to that preached by the apostles.

    I have been a believer for 22years and never heard anyone preach baptism in any congregation I attended as part of the Gospel message.

    If we are not going to use the bibles Gospel from the book of Acts then it is open slather.

    Baptism was always part of the Gospel message, administered straightaway. Why the urgency?

    Act 2:41 Then they that GLADLY RECEIVED HIS WORD were BAPTIZED: and the SAME DAY there were added unto them about THREE THOUSAND souls.

    Act 8:12 But WHEN THEY BELIEVED Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, THEY WERE BAPTIZED, both men and women.

    Act 8:13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.

    Philip preached baptism in the Gospel.

    Act 8:36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; WHAT DOES HINDER ME TO BE BAPTIZED ?
    Act 8:38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

    Paul baptized

    Act 9:18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

    Cornelius and the Gentiles

    Act 10:47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48 And he COMMANDED THEM TO BE BAPTIZED in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

    Paul preached baptism TO Lydia

    Act 16:14 woman named Lydia, …: whose heart the Lord opened, that SHE ATTENDED UNTO THE THINGS WHICH WERE SPOKEN BY PAUL
    Act 16:15 And WHEN SHE WAS BAPTIZED, and her household, she besought us, saying, IF YOU HAVE JUDGED ME FAITHFUL TO THE LORD, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

    Paul preached baptism TO Philippian Jailer

    Act 16:33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

    All baptized the same hour the Gospel was preached read Rom 6:3-7 and you will understand that without baptism there is no gospel.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: