Today, I share a few ideas responding to concerns that reciting a single prayer (the “sinner’s prayer”) may not truly establish new life and salvation in Christ. There seems to be as many versions of the “beginners prayer” as there are clergy and evangelists. After some while, a believer might not even recall the specific words they were given, yet, every believer must eventually acknowledge and accept a truth now basic to every covenant relationship of creature and Creator: (Romans 3: 22, KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Many Christian believers first publicly acknowledged their need for the blessings of GOD by his incarnate ministry appearing as Jesus Christ while having a complete worship experience, and after they were led to repeat words calling for forgiveness, and change. Such prayers should not be regarded as a “fix it” formula using miracle language and specially chosen words, or a “magic spell” that will remove all doubt, sin, and unbelief, so much as willingness to speak such words are indications of a spirit influence from GOD being present in the person who chooses to speak the prayer. Like the Lord’s prayer that was given as a model, and not the only words one may speak in their devotions, the 3 words Peter spoke when failing to walk on the water also are a model prayer. (Matthew 14: 29-31, KJV) And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? Consider again the following:
(1.) Prayer is a tool for communicating among persons within sacred relationships, and actively continues ongoing affiliation with divinity that is passively established through shared spirit content. The bond and connection that produces salvation are only through the imparted, inseparable aspects of the makeup of GOD who is a spirit. Included are faith, forbearance, holiness, joy, longsuffering, love, wisdom, and wrath against sin. Where one appears, all others appear also; and the living are known to be spiritually alive by expressions that result from interactions among ones spirit content. (1st Corinthians 12: 3, KJV) Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
(2.) Ones awareness that GOD exists is by operations of the Holy Spirit; and, at first, is primitive and raw consciousness lacking such forms as doctrine, images, measurement, process, words, or similitude. What a fellow believer, a preacher, the Scriptures, or church attendance may provide are carnal, material and social experiences intended to further crystallize and focus sacred awareness. (Romans 8: 26, KJV) Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
(3.) Rightly understood, the simple yet profound sinner’s prayer is a form of sacred practice, or sacrament intended to continue ones consciousness of divinity. Performing the various sacraments (e.g., baptism, holy matrimony, penitence, receiving the Lord’s Supper) do not “save”, yet, they nourish and prolong the condition of salvation. As a form of confession, the prayer acknowledges a broad range of existing obstacles to correct relationship with GOD. Included are lack of sacred knowledge; lack of humility; ones own accountability in judgment; fear; guilt; infirmity (we say, weaknesses); needs (e.g., for cleansing, deliverance, forgiveness, guidance, healing); and ones inborn sin nature that regularly appears through such elements as negative attitudes, defiance of sacred law, destructiveness, disobedience, forbidden desires, and ungodly habits. By the sinner’s prayer, believers initiate their claims for a divine estate and a spiritual inheritance that are supported before sacred law through the person of Jesus Christ. (Luke 18: 13-15, KJV) And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
There is far more to be said, correctly understood, and spiritually apprehended. (For example, (4.) Men may openly invite, welcome, and then cooperate with the operations and promptings of GOD that manifest their salvation, however, the principles and substance of salvation is exclusively from GOD. Included are every expression of divine being, character, compassion, grace, mercy, permanence, person, prerogative, renewal, and sovereignty. The salvation the sinner receives is not so much a matter of living happily ever after exercising unrestrained desire and self-will as it is a matter of displaying commitment and discipline, and meeting the challenges of life in the earth having been given the whole armor of GOD. (1st Peter 4: 17-19, KJV) For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.) Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful. Be it unto you according to your faith.
THE BLACK PHOENIX