This prayer to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord is also sometimes called The Sinner’s Prayer. That’s because we begin by confessing our need for Christ to forgive our sins. This prayer to accept Jesus is used at the time of conversion and personal commitment to follow Christ or at the time of baptism. This article will guide you on how to use this prayer for yourself or with others.
It has been my highest honor and privilege to use this prayer to accept Jesus or The Sinner’s Prayer to lead someone to Christ.
From my earliest years as a young Christian to now as a pastor it has been wonderful to lead folks of all ages to Christ using this prayer.
The prayer example that I will give is only a sample of the many different ways you could express or use such a prayer.
Table of contents
1. The Spiritual elements
The spiritual elements and theology you could or would use in such a prayer are as follows:
a. You are a sinner
b. You need a Savior
c. Jesus is the way to eternal life and salvation
d. Jesus died for you
e. Jesus is God’s Son
f. Repentance and confession of sin
g. Acceptance of Jesus as your savior
h. Faith expressed from the heart
i. Receiving forgiveness of sin
j. Commitment to live for Christ
k. Assurance of God’s love and work in one’s heart
2. It’s not all about the words but rather about what happens in our heart.
I usually lead someone in a version of prayer similar to these elements of theology. The important thing about this prayer is the person accepting or receiving God’s grace. It is a work of the heart and as such is supernatural. It is a work of God and not man. Saying a prayer does not save. The true fact of the matter is that Jesus saves! We don’t. Just reciting a prayer like a magic potion will not produce results if it is orchestrated by us without God’s conviction and work in that person’s heart. I am always aware of this when I lead someone to Christ. I ask them if they are ready.
3. Saying the prayer
When I lead someone to Christ, I use short phrases and words to be repeated after me to be prayed from the heart by that person or persons. I then encourage them to get involved in a local church and become a member, read their Bible, pray, fellowship with believers, and witness for Christ.
The following is an example of a sinner’s prayer similar to what I use to lead people to Christ:
Please forgive me for my sins. I believe that you sent your Son Jesus to die on the cross for my sins.
I believe that you love me. I believe in my heart who you are. You are the Son of God. I confess with my mouth that I am a sinner. I accept you Lord Jesus as my savior. Please cleanse me from my sin and create a new and clean heart in me. I do believe that you are my savior and I now want to live for you as my Lord and my God. I know that I have eternal life in you because of the work you did on Calvary’s cross for me. Thank you, God. In Jesus Name. Amen.
4. The Scriptures behind the prayer
Scriptures that apply to the bold italic phrases or words of the above sinner’s prayer:
1. forgive me, Luke 7:48; Luke 5:8
2. my sins, Romans 3:23
3. you sent, John 3:17
4. believe that you love me, Romans 5:8; John 3:16
5. believe in my heart who you are…the Son of God, I John 5:12
6. I confess with my mouth that I am a sinner, Romans 10:9-10; I John 1:9
7. Accept…my savior, Romans 10:13
8. Cleanse me…create..new..clean heart in me, Psalm 51:9-10
9. now want to live for you…as my Lord and my God, Galatians 2:20; John 20:27-28
10. know…eternal life, I John 5:11; Romans 6:23
11. the work you did, John 6:28-29
12. on Calvary’s cross, Luke 23:33; John 19:30
I can give personal testimony to that fact that saying the words to this prayer does not change your life unless you mean it from your heart. At age 14 a group of young men from a local church were zealous to lead me in a type of sinner’s prayer. It was somewhat forced. I obliged and prayed the prayer, but it really wasn’t from the heart and I was not ready either. It wasn’t until six years later when I was in college that I said this prayer and truly meant it, repenting and turning my life over to Christ.
My personal search and experience began in June of 1979 as a college student at summer break back home working in an industrial plant. A fellow worker and new friend simply invited me to church. He and others helped me begin the process as a seeker by praying for me and witnessing to me. I went to church with my fellow worker. When they prayed at the altar, I would go up with them. After about a month or so of this, I sensed the need to repent of my wrongdoings and could actually feel the prayers of others for me. Later different Christian believers told me that they had been praying for me.
One day I felt the presence of God physically at home and felt called to pray. I sensed a conviction and a need to get on my knees at home and ask Jesus into my life and to forgive me. I had been lonely and empty but after this experience through prayer I felt happy and joyful. Something had changed in my life and heart. I felt like a new person. I had a different outlook on life. Nature and even the trees which previously meant nothing to me came alive with vibrant color and life. It was good to be alive.
I began to tell people about my experience and encouraged others to have a similar experience of giving their life to Christ because it had changed my life. I had a strong desire to read the Bible and sometimes I read as many as ten to fifteen chapters a day. Within three months, I sensed a call to be a preacher in October of 1979 at the college campus.
We never know when others are ready. But this should not prevent us from leading someone to Christ or witnessing. We should always plant the seed through witnessing and prayer. God does the work!
This prayer uses a variety of key scriptures about saving faith through the atoning death of Jesus Christ.
An early example of the Sinner’s Prayer can be found in chapter 18 of Pilgrim’s Progress written by John Bunyan in 1678.
“God be merciful to me a sinner, and make me to know and believe in Jesus Christ; for I see, that if his righteousness had not been, or I have not faith in that righteousness, I am utterly cast away. Lord, I have heard that thou art a merciful God, and hast ordained that thy Son Jesus Christ should be the Saviour of the world; and moreover, that thou art willing to bestow him upon such a poor sinner as I am-and I am a sinner indeed. Lord, take therefore this opportunity, and magnify thy grace in the salvation of my soul, through thy Son Jesus Christ. Amen.”
The Sinner’s Prayer was popularized by evangelist Dwight Moody (1837-1899) who had a heart for reaching the unchurched, especially youth.
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Copyright Joe Hethcoat 2011. All rights reserved.
One Methods:Two Simple KeysCommunity Q&A
The Bible says there is one way to Heaven. Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father but by me.” (John 14:6) This one way is to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior and follow God’s plans for our life which are laid out in the Bible.
Good works cannot save you. Faith in Jesus alone can save you.
“For by grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Trust Jesus Christ today! Here’s what you must do.
- Admit that you are a sinner and that you need God’s help.
- “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23)
- “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” (Romans 5:12)
- “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:10)
- Be willing to change your mind and turn from your sin (repent).
- Jesus said: “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:5)
- Believe that Jesus Christ died for you, was buried, and rose from the dead.
- “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
- “But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners. Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
- “If you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
- Through prayer, invite Jesus into your heart to become your personal Lord and Savior.
- “For with the heart (core being) man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:10)
- “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
- Dear God, I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ shed His precious blood and died for my sin. I am willing to change and turn from my sin. I now invite Jesus Christ to come into my heart and life as my personal Savior.
- “But as many as received him, to them He gave power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:” (John 1:12)
- “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” . (2 Corinthians 5:17)
If you have received Jesus Christ as your Savior, as a Christian you should:
- Read your Bible every day to get to know Christ better.
Read the Holy Bible, the guide and tool to kindness and the right path to eternal life. If you encounter questions, resolve them by asking someone at your church to help you with them.
- “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (aligning and applying) the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
- “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalms 119:105)
- Talk to God in prayer every day.
- “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22)
- “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6)
- “However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, ‘LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?’ 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)
- Be baptized, worship, fellowship, and serve with other Christians in a church where Christ is preached and the Bible is the final authority on everything.
- “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” (Matthew 28:19)
- “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25)
- “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16)
- Tell others about Christ.
- “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)
- “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16)
- “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)
Two Simple Keys
- Learn about Jesus and believe that He died, rose from the dead as your Savior and then pray of repentance to the one, true God.
“Father, God, I change my mind and turn from my sin, reject all my wrong doing; I want your will, and I truly thank you for everything you have done and that I am now freely forgiven and can be saved from the penalty for my sins — as a free gift. I know that you place a new life in me. Thank you for your gift to me of receiving The Holy Spirit in Jesus’ name.”
- Walk in love; telling others that “There is one mediator for us, The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is Lord and Savior for everyone who believes, repents and follows him — and so, (walk in the Spirit):
“Follow Jesus Christ” includes going to Christian meetings with people of like faith and being Baptised. You must repent and be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit as a sign of accepting Him, for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the promised gift of the Holy Ghost. The five ways to grow your relationship with God are: praying to God, reading the Bible, praising, worshiping, and fasting. Also, through Jesus and the Holy Ghost/Holy Spirit we show God’s love by kindness, forgiving others, making peace, having a faithful, loving relationship with believers (Don’t live by feelings; judge no one harshly, not even yourself; live and walk in Christ’s Spirit, in The Spirit of God in faith, hope and charity. So, live in the Spirit and “And I give to them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man snatch them out of My hand”, Jesus said; that is safety, secured.) But, when you (in your mind) are convicted of sin — repent, asking God for, accepting forgiveness, expecting consequences for some wrongs — and going on as a Child of God, all in Christ Jesus’ name — with God as the one, true Judge of all things both good and bad. God’s love is perfect and casts out all fear.
Add New Question
How can I live with God?
Accept Jesus Christ into your heart. Know that He died on the cross for your sins, and that He then rose from the grave. Pray and read the Bible. Pray for forgiveness when you sin. Think about things before you do them, and if you aren’t certain about what to do, ask Jesus to guide you. Talk to other Christians and pray with them.
How can I free my mind when praying?
It is very easy to allow our minds to wander while we pray. When you realize that you have “wandered off” during prayers, simply try to reset your mind towards God.
I made a mistake in my past that always plays on my mind and is not allowing me to move forward. How can I really ignore it and can I ask God to help me enjoy my life?
Ignoring the past isn’t the way forward. Come to God in prayer, ask Him to take any burdens from you and to renew you. As long as its good, God will grant it.
How do I know that I am living for Jesus and not for my own good thoughts?
By following his footsteps through reading, studying, and meditating and doing His words.
What if I can’t go to church?
You can watch services on the internet or on TV, or you can listen to them on the radio. You can also just take some time for Bible study. There’s always a way; with Jesus all things are possible.
What if people reject me when I talk about Jesus Christ?
Dust yourself off and move on to the next person. Not everyone will be receptive to the word of God, but plenty of people will be.
How can I start to read the Bible? How do I know where to start?
The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) tell Jesus’ life but in different perspectives by four of his followers, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. It is a good way to learn more about Jesus. However, if you want to read the whole story from the beginning, start at Genesis.
I pray often but still cannot stop gambling. Can you help me?
Ask the Lord to help you fill up your time and thoughts with his will. Spend time reading the Bible. Spend time with others who are seeking God, perhaps at Gamblers Anonymous. Help people in need. Seek forgiveness for your sins. Make Jesus Christ the center of your life and ask him to help you do his will each day. When you pray, believe in your heart that God has heard your prayer and pray that God’s will be done, not yours. God does not want you to continue to struggle with this. He wants you to live in his light, love, and goodness and share this with others.
What can I do if I’ve asked God to forgive me for my past mistakes, but they keep running through my mind?
If something keeps playing on your mind, it is your ego (some say Satan) that does not want you to be one with God. Instead of focusing on that ego, focus on God and his Holy Spirit within you. Choose eternal life through Christ. That is the battle we all have to face.
What if God isn’t actually real?
God is real but everyone will question God’s presence. Sometimes it feels like God just isn’t there when we need Him. He does see you and He knows your problems and worries. Read the Bible, and consider Jesus, the Son of God, part of the Trinity come into human form to save us. There is historical evidence that Jesus was real. Even non-believers way back then wrote about how Jesus was real and alive. If Jesus wasn’t God, why would He die on the cross for a lie He had made up? Crucifixion was a painful, slow, torturous death. No one would want to die for a lie. He also rose from the dead. Rising from the dead is an act of God.
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- Read a daily devotional based on the Bible.
- Fellowship with other Christians.
- Join an evangelical church (becoming a member).
- Attend discipleship classes at a church so that you can learn more about following Jesus.
- “Nothing can go wrong”: your ultimate destination is fixed, in Christ, but if you find yourself making mistakes and feeling guilty, confess, repent and ask for forgiveness. Make things right with your friend, neighbor or family. Life is a process, no one is perfect, not one. We all make mistakes but never let bad things consume you.
- Don’t take the easy, wide path for at the end is wickedness, destruction and grief in our world, and death and pain in the one to come. But, follow the path of the master of creation, God, taking the narrow path of truth, great reward and eternal life.
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