Sinner's Prayer or
Sinner's Snare?

by Kimberly B. Southall

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Every day countless individuals who seek salvation are instructed by well-meaning individuals to say a "sinner's prayer" in order to receive salvation. That would be wonderful except for one detail–the sinner's prayer won't save anyone from anything! Rather than calling it the sinner's prayer, it could be more accurately labeled the "sinner's snare."

While God's Word outlines His (and the one and only) plan of salvation, the sinner's prayer or any reference to it whatsoever cannot be found in the Bible. Don't believe me? Then look for yourself. Ask anyone who promotes the sinner's prayer to name a single scripture which says that praying a prayer can save anyone. See if you or anyone else can find a single scripture reference to praying Jesus into your heart. It can't be done, because no such scripture exists.

The sinner's prayer is not mentioned in any of the nine Christian conversions in the book of Acts nor anywhere in either the Old or New Testaments. So if it can't be found in God's Word, then where on earth did the sinner's prayer originate? Where on earth, indeed! For it was the deceptive god of this age, Satan, who has come up with the brilliant scheme to entice those seeking God and His salvation away from the truth and ensnare them with a lie–the sinner's prayer.

While it is possible for one utilizing the erroneous sinner's prayer to complete the first four steps of the biblical plan of salvation (hear, believe, repent, and confess), those who promote the sinner's prayer almost always stop short of the next step, the key ingredient which grants the forgiveness needed in order to be saved–baptism (immersion in water). Or such an individual will claim that one praying the sinner's prayer should (rather than must, as the Bible says) be baptized, but only as a symbol that they have already been saved. The problem with that is simple–it's a lie. One cannot receive forgiveness of his sins, and therefore salvation, without being baptized. Read it in God's Word and weep. (See Acts 2:38 and Acts 22:12-16.) Weep for all the souls being deceived and lost for all eternity while they are deluded into thinking they are actually saved. Is there anything sadder than that!?

Sinner's prayer or sinner's snare? I guess you could still choose either label, for the sad fact is that anyone who relies upon the sinner's prayer for salvation will be just as unforgiven and just as much as a sinner when they say "amen" as when they began. And, on the other hand, anyone who relies upon that unbiblical and false plan of salvation has most assuredly fallen into Satan's snare. Sinner's prayer or sinner's snare? Choose neither. Choose eternal life through the biblical plan of salvation. Hear, believe, repent, confess, be immersed in water for the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit, and live a faithful Christian life to the end.

The Biblical Plan of Salvation
1 Hear the Gospel message (John 5:24 & Acts 15:7)
2 Believe in Jesus as the resurrected Son of God (John 3:16-18 & Acts 16:31)
3 Repent (turn away from known sins) (Acts 17:30 & 2 Corinthians 7:10)
4 Confess Christ before others (Romans 10:9-10)
5 Be baptized (immersed in water) for the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit–for salvation (Mark 16:16 & Acts 2:38)
6 Live a faithful Christian life and stand firm to the end (Matthew 10:22 & Mark 13:13)

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The Nine Christian Conversions in Acts

1 3,000 on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41)
2 The Samaritans (Acts 8:9-12)
3 Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-39)
4 Saul/Paul (Acts 9:1-19 & Acts 22:3-16)
5 Cornelius’ Household (Acts 10:44-48)
6 Lydia (Acts 16:11-15)
7 The Jailer (Acts 16:16-34)
8 The Corinthians (Acts 18:1-8)
9 The Ephesians (Acts 19:1-7)

Copyright © 2002 Kimberly B. Southall. All rights reserved.