My View on the Prayer of Acceptance
In one of the meetings I attended before, the people and I discussed if we should ask speakers to invite the crowd to pray the prayer of acceptance (or more known as the sinner’s prayer, if I’m not mistaken). We somehow had a passionate discussion about the prayer.
So what do I think of the prayer of acceptance? I’m going to give my perspective of it, and my practice whenever I speak.
I believe that there’s nothing wrong or sinful about asking people to pray this prayer after a message, especially when it’s an evangelistic one. I’ve seen some people who were truly converted, and their means to profess their faith was by saying the prayer. Even I myself invite a person to pray it after I have explained them the Gospel and have affirmed that he has truly understood and believed it.
But when I give a message, I don’t ask the people to pray the prayer. Why? Because I believe that the Gospel is meant to be fully and clearly understood first. And I simply don’t believe in saying, “Some of you have not yet accepted the Lord Jesus into your life. Now, I’m giving you an opportunity. Say this prayer with me.” without the hearer understanding the Gospel.
The Gospel is meant to be fully and clearly understood! The hearer must acknowledge that he is a sinner and is spiritually bankrupt (Romans 3:23, Matthew 5:3). He must understand that he is bound for hell because of his sins (Romans 6:23, Revelation 21:8). But Christ died for his sins and by placing his faith on Him, he can be forgiven (John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9). He is “the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through [Him]” (John 14:6).
Along with other wonderful ones, these are the great truths of the Gospel. Between the sermon and the prayer (and that’s an incredibly short time!), I can hardly find the preacher being able to clearly explain them, and I can hardly find the hearer having a good grasp of them. (Of course, let’s assume the sermon is non-evangelistic).
I’d rather sit down with them after the message, and clearly explain them the Gospel. Or leave the Gospel-sharing to the evangelism team.
But I’m leaving this matter to the speaker or preacher and the Spirit’s leading on him.