One side of the debate says that the sinner’s prayer is not found in scripture. Okay, I’ll give you that. But you loose me on the premise that nowhere is such a prayer commanded nor implied anywhere in the New Testament. The Apostle’s Creed is not found in scripture, but that is the statement of faith regularly made by many believers. Each claim is based on scriptural truth. Below is the sinner’s prayer text, followed by several statements quoted directly from scripture.
The Sinner’s Prayer
Heavenly Father, have mercy on me, a sinner. I believe in you and that your word is true. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that he died on the cross so that I may now have forgiveness for my sins and eternal life. I know that without you in my heart my life is meaningless.
I believe in my heart that you, Lord God, raised Him from the dead. Please Jesus forgive me, for every sin I have ever committed or done in my heart, please Lord Jesus forgive me and come into my heart as my personal Lord and Savior today. I need you to be my Father and my friend.
I give you my life and ask you to take full control from this moment on; I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.
“Have mercy on me a sinner,” Luke 18:13, prayed by the tax collector in Jesus’ parable of two men that prayed. It was this man that went home justified.
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
“this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men, God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.” Acts 2, 23-24, part of Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost; Romans 3:25, Hebrews 2:17, 1 John 2:2 and 1 John 4:10 all describe Christ as the propitiation of sins.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16, aka the gospel in a nutshell.
Jesus, in Col 1, makes peace by the blood of his cross. In our natural state, the sin nature we inherited from Adam separates us from God. Romans 5 describes how by one man’s sin (Adam) death entered the world, so by one man’s obidience (Jesus) many will be made righteous. So, if one recognizes he or she is a sinner, and believes that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, what must one do next? Romans 10:9-10 says “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
The sinner’s prayer is a tool to help someone seeking salvation to find it. It is not a collection of magic words that must be repeated verbatim no more than the prayer of Jabez or the Lord’s Prayer are. Asking forgiveness of our sins, belief in God, belief in God’s son, the crucifixion, the resurrection, confessing with the mouth are all scriptural precepts. Prayer is commanded in scripture. Come at me again: what is not scriptural about the sinner’s prayer?