The Sinnerís Prayer

By Cougan Collins


Many sincere people teach that salvation can be obtained by asking Jesus into your heart by saying the sinnerís prayer: ďOh God, I know I am a sinner. I believe Jesus was my substitute when he died on the cross. I believe His shed blood, death, burial and resurrection were for me. I now receive Him as my Savior. I thank you for the forgiveness of my sins, and the gift of salvation and everlasting life, because of your merciful grace. AmenĒ


There are many versions of the sinnerís prayer, but you will never see a verse reference for it because it cannot be found in Scripture. Sometimes, men create new teachings that catch on which people will continue teaching without realizing they are teaching the doctrines and commandments of men (Mt. 15:9).


The sinnerís prayer began sometime during the reformation movement and it slowly evolved until it was made popular during Billy Grahamís crusades. Using the sinnerís prayer made it possible for thousands to be saved at once. Millions have said the sinnerís prayer and believe it has saved them, but the question is, what does the Bible teach about the sinnerís prayer? Can a person have his sins forgiven by simply asking Jesus into his heart by saying this prayer?


These are serious questions that demand a serious answer. Will you accept what the Bible says about the sinnerís prayer, or will you accept a popular teaching created by man?


The Bible says nothing about the sinnerís prayer because it cannot be found in Scripture. There is no conversion recorded in the Bible where anyone was taught to ask Jesus into their heart by praying. In fact, I can prove from Saulís conversion that prayer does not cause one to become a child of God whose sins are removed.


Please read the conversion of Saul in Acts 9, 22, and 26. Saul was on his way to Damascus when he encountered Jesus. After speaking with Jesus, he was blind for three days. He waited in the city as instructed by Jesus (Acts 9:6). During that time, he did not drink or eat, and he was praying (Acts 9:11). Jesus told Saul that he would receive further instruction (Acts 9:6), and that further instruction came from Ananias.


At this point, Saul believes in Jesus and has called Him Lord (Acts 9:6). He obeyed Jesusí instructions to wait in the city for further instructions. His repentance is implied by his actions and God knew he was praying. If anyone could be saved by praying a sinnerís prayer it would have been Saul, but notice what Ananias tells him: Acts 22:16 'And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.'


Saul was lost until he obeyed the further instructions, which was getting himself baptized so his sins could be washed away. These same instructions were taught at the birth of the church (Acts 2:37ff).


How can anyone claim they were saved by saying the sinnerís prayer when the Bible says nothing about it yet clearly states that one must believe (Jn. 3:16), repent (Lk. 13:3), confess (Rom. 10:9), and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). Will you accept what Bible teaches about salvation, or will you continue to put your trust in man? Be a Berean (Acts 17:11)! We invite you to worship and study with us to learn more about first century Christianity.