Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pray to receive Christ

I was listening to the last part of Focus on the Family tonight when I heard the speaker talking about praying to ask Jesus to come into your heart. My question is, where does the Bible say that this is how you enter the kingdom of God? Why do thousands of churches across America and around the world teach people to pray the "sinner's prayer" so that they can be born again? I'm not trying to be critical of the speaker or Focus on the Family in any way. Just trying to figure out what I'm missing here.



Barb said...

Shoot, I didn't comment last night because I hoped that others would chime in. This one really has me puzzled and concerned. I have been thinking about it all week so when you wrote about it I was hoping for some discussion.

It simply is not there. It is following Christ from what I can see. It is a belief that says, "I believe in who you are and are willing to walk like I do."

Will check back in today to see if others have any other ideas.

Brandon said...

Hey Barb!
Sometimes the silence says more than volumes of comments. I can remember years ago going on visitation one Monday night, a young couple had filled out a visitor card that indicated they wanted someone to come visit them at home. When we called before heading out for the visit, the lady told me she had a list of questions she needed answered...I should have seen this coming, but I honestly think I thought I had all the answers.

When she answered the door she had a legal pad in her hand. Things were going surprisingly well when she asked me what the Bible had to say about drinking wine or beer...not getting drunk, but drinking wine or beer. I hadn't seen it personally, but the way our church and our denomination talked about it there had to be a dead ringer verse in there somewhere...nope. I was sitting on that couch frantically looking for it, but it was nowhere to be found. Here's what's interesting. In some strange way, I think I was disappointed in the Bible that it wasn't clear about something I thought was so wrong. It never occurred to me that my pastor, my church or my denomination might be mistaken on this.

Like you said, these things have me both puzzled and concerned.

Thanks for giving your input Barb!

~Yvette~ said...

Brandon - I've been reading and researching this very issue. Some people in my Bible study have very different definitions of what it means to be saved and if you can loose your salvation. I'll be checking back to see what every one says. I think the Bible doesn't specifically say to "pray" but to confess and believe and follow.


Brandon said...

I agree with that, all I see is confess, believe and follow too. Thanks for sharing your input!


Pat and Paige said...

I have struggled with this issue myself in the past. You are told that there is nothing that you can do to save yourself, yet the preacher says that all you need to do is “pray to receive Christ”. In a book that deals with Bible storying, the author deals with the subject of checking the foundations of the people you are going to be ministering to. He speaks of those who have truly been saved yet do not have complete assurance. The questions that arise are “did I say the right thing”, “did I do it right”, “maybe I missed something”. The question is not did I do it right, but rather, “Was Jesus’ death enough to satisfy God’s requirement to cover the cost of sin?” The question is, When Jesus said, “It is finished”, was it really finished or is there something that I must do in addition to that? The freedom comes when you understand that salvation only involves two things: (1) simply trusting that salvation has nothing to do with what we do but rather what has ALREADY been done (faith) and turning from anything that we may be trying to do on our own to please God enough to accept us (repentance). The amazing thing is this: While we were enemies of God, He made the conscious choice to love us to the point of leaving perfection and non-stop worship to come to a place where the very ones He chose to love would hate him. How is it then that we think we could possibly DO anything to add to what He has already done. If simply praying a prayer would save you, I would dare to say that we would not be experiencing grace, and what has already been done on our behalf would mean nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I have prayed (spoken conversationally) to God and made known to Him my desire to want to be forgiven for my sins and trusting in what He has done and made Him the Master of me. Brandon, the question of “praying to receive Christ” is a loaded question.

Brandon said...

Great comment! I agree and this has been one of my issues with the notion of having to pray to receive salvation. In 1991 I prayed with a pastor from Heather's church but I had NO clue what I was doing, didn't really understand that my sin separated me from God or that Christ was all I needed for salvation. This guy said I needed to pray to receive him and so I did. I struggled for years with whether I was saved or some point during that struggle I came to realize that all I needed to do was place my faith in Christ and that was it. Looking back, at that point I know I was a believer. But I doubted the you said, did I say everything just so...etc.

Interestingly enough, I know I dealt with people all the time who were struggling with this when we served in other churches. In our church there seems to be much less of this wondering about assurance of salvation...not sure why though.