A man asked. “Preacher, I have been told that in order to be saved I must say the ‘Sinner’s Prayer.’ Ever since that time I have been looking everywhere in my Bible for the ‘Sinner’s Prayer’ but I simply cannot find it.”
My friend will search for a long time. There is no mention of any sinner praying through and receiving salvation. Not one single solitary example can be found in the Word of God. Many religious tracts are available containing man’s ideas about praying for salvation. I have received numerous tracts with a prayer for one to pray. One of those prayers suggested: “Dear Father, I admit that I have sinned and need to be forgiven. Thank you for sending Jesus Christ to die for my sins. Come into my life and help me to be pleasing to You. Amen.” The majority of those prayers do not conclude by even being prayed in the name of Jesus Christ.
The Bible can help you to know what one must do to be saved. In Acts 2 we come to the day of Pentecost. Peter and other apostles preach the first Gospel sermon. The hearers were pricked in their hearts and asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ (Acts 2:37). This would be the ideal time to say “Just pray the sinner’s prayer.” Yet, that does not happen. Peter said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Three thousand souls were added to the church that very day (Acts 2:41,47), as they obeyed the Gospel.
In Acts 8:5-13 the Samaritans believed and were baptized. In Acts 8 we have the account of the Ethiopian eunuch. An angel did not appear to the eunuch; but an angel did appear to Philip. The eunuch was in his chariot and reading from Isaiah 53:7-8. Philip ran up to the chariot and asked the eunuch “Understandest thou what thou readest?” He answered, “How can I, except some man should guide me.” Notice please, he is not told to pray the “sinner’s prayer.” Instead, Philip “…began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35). After a little while they came to a certain water and the eunuch said, “See, here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptized?” (Acts 8:36). The Ethiopian confessed that “Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:37). He does not pray the “sinner’s prayer.” Rather, “Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him” (Acts 8:38). Philip preached unto the Ethiopian “Jesus.” We learn that when “Jesus” is preached there will be the necessity of the one baptism (Eph. 4:5).
In Acts 9:1-6 we find Saul of Tarsus is traveling from Jerusalem to Damascus. The Lord appeared to Saul and he was afraid. He said, “Lord what wilt Thou have me to do?” The Lord did not have him to pray the “sinner’s prayer.” What did the Lord ask him to do? “Arise and go into the city, and it will be told thee what thou must do.” (Acts 9:6). Saul fasted and prayed for three days. Saul’s fasting did not save him. Saul praying did not save him. Ananias preached unto him saying: “And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). We are told in Acts 9:17-18 that Saul “arose and was baptized.” It was necessary for him to be baptized to have his sins washed away by the power of the blood of Christ.
There are eight cases of conversion recorded in the book of Acts. In Acts 10:34-48 Cornelius and his household believed and were baptized. It is in Acts 16: 13-15 we learn that Lydia and her household were baptized. The Philippian jailor and his family believed and were baptized in Acts 16:32-33. “Many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized” (Acts 18:8). Not one time is anyone told to pray the “sinner’s prayer” to receive salvation. Every time without fail, men and women are told to be baptized in order to be saved. You cannot find a single occurrence in God’s Word telling anyone to pray the “sinner’s prayer” in order to receive salvation. Not one time!