It is obvious in the question that there are primarily two things that we wish to touch on. Salvation and prayer.
The Bible is the text book regarding the problem of sin and redemption. Adam and Eve brought into the world through sin every tear, heartache, sorry, pain sickness and dying and is thus, in many ways, the saddest chapter in the Bible. It is in Genesis 3 that we first read the word “cursed” (vs. 14, 17). Satan was cursed as was the earth—the ground in which man would plant and reap his food.
Adam started running away from God. He and Eve were barred from the beautiful Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:24). Man, that God had created in His own image had now transgressed His law. God said “Thou shalt not” but man said I’ll do as I please. From this, God started running toward Pentecost when the Gospel would be preached in its fullness and souls would, and could, be saved.
In Genesis 4 Abel offered a firstling of the flock for he had faith in the atoning blood (Heb. 11:4). Those animals that were sacrificed had to be pure without spot or blemish (cf. Lev. 1). Have you ever wondered why the ram—male lamb—had to be pure without spot or blemish?
In Genesis 22 Abraham was told to go and offer thy son thine only son which he proceeded to do. With all he needed to make the sacrifice, he was about to take his son’s life when an angel of the Lord stayed his hand and there was a ram caught in the brush which Abraham used as a sacrifice.
In Exodus 12 we read of the Passover where the children of Israel of Israel would come out of Egyptian bondage with the blood of a lamb without spot or blemish whose blood was on the door posts of the houses to show that the blood was applied (Ex. 12:23) that house was spared. If the blood was not applied the first born perished.
Isaiah wrote, “…Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14). This child will be born of a virgin and His name will be Immanuel.
Please read Isaiah 53 and underline or look at all the pronouns like “He”. A ram or lamb animal was never called him or her or “he”. Christ would be a He. God is promising that someday, somewhere and somehow, He will provide His own Lamb. Of course, God was speaking through the prophet to indicate His only begotten Son.
The Old Testament closes with that thought in the background of that Lamb being offered in the future. This gives us a very brief history of sin and God’s plan for lost man.
In Matthew chapter 1 we have the birth of Jesus Christ and, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost” (vs. 18). The word Immanuel is even interpreted for us. Please notice, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Vs. 23). This is precisely what Isiah wrote in Isaiah 7:14.
This Child—this Immanuel, John would introduce to the world in the first century by saying “…Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Later in verse 31 he would say “And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.” Reckon why John was told to baptize with water? Why did he not tell sinners to pray to be saved? There is a simple answer to that question. Verse 33 “And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water….” The One that sent John told him to use water to baptize people and he did that where there was much water (John 3:23). There was no praying commanded from this inspired preacher who was preparing the way of the Lord. John said, “And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:34) and “And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God” (John 1: 36).
Paul wrote “…For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Cor. 5:7). Christ shed the atoning blood that started with righteous Abel’s lamb’s blood.
After His crucifixion on the cruel old rugged cross and raised from the tomb (cf. 1 Cor 15:1-5) Christ was given all authority both in heaven and on earth.
Read His own words with me. “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matt 28:18-19). The American Standard Version of 1901 in verse 18 of Matthew 28 reads “All authority.” Thus, the power or authority to command His apostles and us even to this day resides in His Word which is able to save (Rom. 1:16) called the “gospel.”
When the first Gospel sermon was preached in Acts 2 and those were pricked in their heart (meaning disturbed) why disturbed you ask, they were found guilty of crucifying Christ God’s only begotten Son. They wanted to know what to do to be saved. They were told to “…Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” (Acts 2:37-38). No one was told to pray to be saved.
In Acts 8 there was an inspired man, Philip, who preached to the Samaritans and the results of his preaching was, “But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women” (vs. 12). On and on we could go through all the conversions—those saved in the book of Acts as well as any other New Testament books and not one of them was told to pray for salvation or to be saved.
Men, uninspired men, have made up the idea of praying through or for salvation. The mourners bench religion is one of many. It is called “altar call.” I hear it frequently from those outside of Christ. Others advertise praying as part of one’s obedience into Christ but it’s all talk—false teachers’ false teaching. When all the mourners are through praying and more praying the Great Commission still reads “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).
Philip the evangelist in Acts 8 taught the eunuch about Christ and the eunuch said “…See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized” (Acts 8:36)? There’s not one passage in the Bible that even hints at praying for salvation.
Please note that the Lamb of God, Who lived a perfect life and was without spot or blemish, commanded individuals to be baptized to be saved and that is by His divine authority (cf. Acts 22:16; Col. 3:17). Why argue with the Lord over soul salvation? If we will obey Him, we will be saved. If not, we have made the choice to be lost eternally. Have you applied the atoning blood of Christ to your soul?