Baptist Sinners Prayer?


#1

JMJ

I found a sinners prayer online at a Baptist site. I have heard Baptists recite a sinners prayer in service years ago. Is the prayer the same in all churches or made up at each one? Where in the Bible does it come from? Would this be considered vain repetition?

Here is what I found online:

"PRAY THIS SINNERS PRAYER AND YOU WILL LIVE FOREVER
**
Dear Jesus
Come into my soul
Take away all my sins
Wash me in your blood
Write my name in your book of life
Give me the Holy Spirit
In Jesus name.
Amen"**

Comments please. I would really like to hear from our Baptist brothers and sisters. It is a beutifull prayer, even if a ‘prayer in a can.’

A prisoner of Christ,


#2

Well, I’m Methodist, not Baptist. But this type of prayer serves as a Protestant form of an Act of Contrition.
It does vary. ( I assume that Catholic prayers of contrition are not all exactly the same?) But the meaning is the same…
By the by, Methodists do not believe in OSAS. So, like Catholics, we may pray this many times in a lifetime.
God bless.


#3

[quote=Malachi4U]JMJ

I found a sinners prayer online at a Baptist site. I have heard Baptists recite a sinners prayer in service years ago. Is the prayer the same in all churches or made up at each one? Where in the Bible does it come from? Would this be considered vain repetition?

Here is what I found online:

"PRAY THIS SINNERS PRAYER AND YOU WILL LIVE FOREVER

Dear Jesus
Come into my soul
Take away all my sins
Wash me in your blood
Write my name in your book of life
**Give me the Holy Spirit **
In Jesus name.
Amen"

Comments please. I would really like to hear from our Baptist brothers and sisters. It is a beutifull prayer, even if a ‘prayer in a can.’

A prisoner of Christ,
[/quote]

We Catholics have tons of “prayers in a can!”

That said, it would be a beautiful Act of Contrition if it involved saying A) I’m sorry for my sins B) I repent (turn from it) and C) will avoid what leads me into sin.

It makes for very bad theology if they think they can say it once and they’re “in.”


#4

Yup. That’s why it makes much more sense (IMNSHO) in a setting that does not believe in OSAS.

The repentance, by the way, is stated before the prayer…In other words, you say you’re sorry, you repent, you promise to avoid sin & the occasions thereof, and then you pray this prayer.
It does not arise in a vaccuum. It is part of the process of repentence.

And–as I said–it is not a magic trick. In a way, it serves as a kind of Protestant form of confessional. (If that makes any kind of sense).


#5

Actually, this prayer is not meant as an act of contrition. Instead, it is a prayer for the New Birth.

Evangelicals such as Baptists believe that a person is born lost and estranged from God. He needs to be born again in order to pass from death to life (John 5:24). That’s what you see, say, at the end of a Billy Graham service; he’s inviting people to be born again and receive the gift of eternal life.

Once one has been born again, an act of contrition is necessary daily (or more!). It will follow the lines of 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This involves actually naming the sins, whereas the “sinner’s prayer” speaks generally “take away all my sins.” The act of contrition won’t ask for salvation, the gift of the Holy Spirit, or a listing in the Book of Life. All of these were taken care of when the soul was born again and passed from death to life.

Some, perhaps most, evangelicals don’t believe in OSAS. But even for them the New Birth is a one-time event, not to be repeated over and over again and again. One who falls away is, indeed, lost and headed for perdition, but his status is a little different from that of one who has never known the Lord. The wanderer is like the prodigal son who left his father’s house. Jesus described that young man, before he repented, as “lost” and “dead.” The non-OSAS people would say that he didn’t need to be born into the family, he needed to get back into the house where family identity could do him some good, instead of staying away and eventually dying with no benefit from his father.

The Catholic tradition is, of course, that the New Birth occurs at baptism. The objection which evangelicals would offer to this interpretation of the New Birth is that it doesn’t work. Even as plenty of evangelicals have “prayed the sinner’s prayer” and still have no salvation (by their fruits you shall know them), plenty of others have been baptized and yet remain as ungodly as a pornographer or abortionist. They may have gone through the outward actions, but they still need to be born again!

Whether it’s baptism or the sinner’s prayer, an outward action cannot be equated with an inward reality. The inner work may be accomplished at the same time as the outward act, or maybe not. That’s why we distinguish between the two. Even if they do occur at the same time, they aren’t the same thing.


#6

[quote=Malachi4U]JMJ

I found a sinners prayer online at a Baptist site. I have heard Baptists recite a sinners prayer in service years ago. Is the prayer the same in all churches or made up at each one? Where in the Bible does it come from? Would this be considered vain repetition?

Here is what I found online:

"PRAY THIS SINNERS PRAYER AND YOU WILL LIVE FOREVER

Dear Jesus
Come into my soul
Take away all my sins
Wash me in your blood
Write my name in your book of life
**Give me the Holy Spirit **
In Jesus name.
Amen"

Comments please. I would really like to hear from our Baptist brothers and sisters. It is a beutifull prayer, even if a ‘prayer in a can.’

A prisoner of Christ,
[/quote]

No, it is not the same in every church. The basic formula is the same with different wording. It involves: prayer directed towards Jesus, invitation for Christ to come into one’s life, acknowledgement of the payment of sin debt by the shed blood of Christ, petition to go to heaven. These are the basic ingredients.

It really is more than a certain set of words. Each line stands for the above mentioned beliefs. It could be worded differently and still have the same effect.

It does not come from one section of Scripture. It encompasses the entire teaching of Christ found in Scripture.

Matthew 26:28


*** 28. For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.***


John 1:29


*** 29. The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.***


Revelation 21:27


*** 27. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.***


Romans 8:9


*** 9. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.***

 It would only be vain repetition if you repeated it, right? Where do you get the idea that this is vain repitition?

Peace…


#7

Thanks for the replies. You have all had good input. I would like some more of our Baptist brohters and sisters in Christ to post an answer too. I tis so nice haveing you on our board as guests. Most of your Baptist forums have banned us Catholics so I have to ask my questions here.JMJ


#8

[quote=Malachi4U]JMJ

I found a sinners prayer online at a Baptist site. I have heard Baptists recite a sinners prayer in service years ago. Is the prayer the same in all churches or made up at each one? Where in the Bible does it come from? Would this be considered vain repetition?

Here is what I found online:

"PRAY THIS SINNERS PRAYER AND YOU WILL LIVE FOREVER

Dear Jesus
Come into my soul
Take away all my sins
Wash me in your blood
Write my name in your book of life
**Give me the Holy Spirit **
In Jesus name.
Amen"

Comments please. I would really like to hear from our Baptist brothers and sisters. It is a beutifull prayer, even if a ‘prayer in a can.’

A prisoner of Christ,
[/quote]

And they say Catholics think we are saved by works. Last time I checked a prayer is a work. So for them, do this work and you’re saved.


#9

Hi!
I’m a Baptist! I must say thats pretty short version of what I prayed when I called Jesus into my heart! But it gets the jest of it. It’d be a good one if it did actually mentioned repentance. The point of praying this prayer is beginning an eternal life with Christ.


#10

[quote=Genesis315]And they say Catholics think we are saved by works. Last time I checked a prayer is a work. So for them, do this work and you’re saved.
[/quote]

Hi Genesis315,
How are you? I must say I disagree with you here. I dont want to put words in your mouth so correct me if I’m not understanding. Are you saying talking to God our Father a work or a chore? If so, you ought to take that up with Him, not bash Protestants for talking to their Savior.


#11

[quote=april_hosen]Hi Genesis315,
How are you? I must say I disagree with you here. I dont want to put words in your mouth so correct me if I’m not understanding. Are you saying talking to God our Father a work or a chore? If so, you ought to take that up with Him, not bash Protestants for talking to their Savior.
[/quote]

Hahaha no no. By works I mean any action at all. The sola fide crowd says all you have to do is have faith and you are saved. A prayer would be considered a “work” (not a labor, but simply something you do). And of course praying is a very good idea, but to say that saying this prayer is what saves you goes against the idea of sola fide.


#12

[quote=Genesis315]Hahaha no no. By works I mean any action at all. The sola fide crowd says all you have to do is have faith and you are saved. A prayer would be considered a “work” (not a labor, but simply something you do). And of course praying is a very good idea, but to say that saying this prayer is what saves you goes against the idea of sola fide.
[/quote]

Luther seemed to define faith and works differently than what people are thinking of. He obviously still believed in the Eucharist and the grace imputed by partaking of it. You have to take the consecrated bread and eat it to receive that grace. He knew that and believed it. While receiving the Eucharist is not a work to gain the favor of God and to accumulate some sort of merit with Him and that makes you deserve to go to heaven, neither is saying a prayer. It doesn’t now make you deserve to go to heaven. It’s relying on Christ to follow through with His promises to save those with faith. That’s what I believe Luther taught.

Peace…


#13

That’s interesting, you say Protestant form of confessional? My form of confessional is confessing my sins to Christ, not repeating a prayer. As for that “Baptist Sinners Prayer”, it is not one that is recited at every Baptist service, we don’t at my church. If you are interested in knowing, the way we pray at my church is the minister opens with prayer, praying for his sermon to be benificial to the congregation and that the congregation would open up their minds and hearts to the Lord, etc. And a deacon closes the service with prayer, praying for the congregation as the go home and whatever else he feels the need to pray for.


#14

I have no problem with the Sinner’s Prayer being used as an Act of Contrition by Protestants. What I do have a problem with is it’s often made out by certain sects to be this silver-bullet–say the prayer one time and you’re guaranteed Heaven. There’s a reason St. Paul worries about persevering.


#15

[quote=Genesis315]Hahaha no no. By works I mean any action at all. The sola fide crowd says all you have to do is have faith and you are saved. A prayer would be considered a “work” (not a labor, but simply something you do). And of course praying is a very good idea, but to say that saying this prayer is what saves you goes against the idea of sola fide.
[/quote]

Well of course!
Even demons have faith. Its actually believing what you are saying that gets you into Heaven. Living Jesus is just what you do if you truly love Him and want to serve Him like He’s served you.


#16

Is the Sinners Prayer in the Bible? If not then why do you say it if it not in Scripture? Is it a form of Tradition? Sounds like the Baptist who bash Catholics are a bit hypocritical to me.


#17

[quote=On my way]Is the Sinners Prayer in the Bible? If not then why do you say it if it not in Scripture? Is it a form of Tradition? Sounds like the Baptist who bash Catholics are a bit hypocritical to me.
[/quote]

Is the Rosary in the Bible? Is the Trinity explicit in the Bible? Are the evils of abortion explicit in the Bible?

Peace…


#18

I was raised in a “sinner’s prayer” Church, and I always found it a little odd that I didn’t see any place in scriptures describing Jesus’s instruction to us that we pray for our salvation.

I also found it a little odd that the prayer was called a “sinner’s prayer,” particularly when there are a couple verses that indicate that God does not hear the prayers of sinners:

John 9:31 “Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.” (KJV)

Isa 59:1-2 “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (KJV)

Peace
Fiat


#19

[quote=amanda_nicole82]That’s interesting, you say Protestant form of confessional? My form of confessional is confessing my sins to Christ, not repeating a prayer. As for that “Baptist Sinners Prayer”, it is not one that is recited at every Baptist service, we don’t at my church. If you are interested in knowing, the way we pray at my church is the minister opens with prayer, praying for his sermon to be benificial to the congregation and that the congregation would open up their minds and hearts to the Lord, etc. And a deacon closes the service with prayer, praying for the congregation as the go home and whatever else he feels the need to pray for.
[/quote]

With respect:I don’t think we are on the same wave length for some reason.
My point is, that when Catholics go to confession, it is to pray & be forgiven of their sins.(This is not done publicly; it is very private).
When protestants pray a sinner’s prayer, it is to pray & be forgiven of their sins. (This is done privately, too, though not as formally as Catholics)
Many of the differences that cause problems between Protestants & Catholics, are, IMHO, due to semantics as much as anything else. When we can find ways to speak to one another, in which we can clarify misunderstandings, we can more clearly see one another as sisters & brothers in Christ.

FYI, I am not Catholic. I am Methodist. Much of my family is Baptist, however, so I am very familiar with the form of service in Baptist churches. None that I have ever attended have ever had public recitations of a Sinner’s Prayer. I don’t, in kindness, believe that I suggested that they did. I am sorry that you misunderstood.
God bless.


#20

[quote=Malachi4U]JMJ

"PRAY THIS SINNERS PRAYER AND YOU WILL LIVE FOREVER
**
Dear Jesus
Come into my soul
Take away all my sins
Wash me in your blood
Write my name in your book of life
Give me the Holy Spirit
In Jesus name.
Amen"**
[/quote]

I’m not baptist, but I was raised an independant bible church-type. I can answer your questions on this…

This sinner’s prayer is a helpful suggestion of the words to say when becoming a christian. You would never need to say it more than once in your life. Many tracts or evangelists would preface the sinners prayer by telling the convert they could say it in their own words. Many would avoid using this sinners prayer, precisely because it is prewritten, but see it as necessary for tracts to guide the convert without the help of a mature believer.

This specific quoted prayer wouldn’t be authoritative for anyone, in fact more charismatic baptists would argue that the Holy Spirit comes later.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.