2Cor 7:10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
Is the sinner’s prayer a biblical practice? Do we see anyone in Scripture even going to “the magic part of the room,” and spoon-feeding someone to repeated the parroted “magic words” of the sinner’s prayer? By no means! We must simply to instruct the lost to repent and believe, as only God can cause regenerate of the heart.
In the natural realm, as long as there are no complications when a child is born, all the doctor needs to do is guide the head. The same applies spiritually. When someone is “born of God,” all we need to do is guide the head—make sure that they understand what they are doing.
Philip the evangelist guided the head of the Ethiopian eunuch, asking him “Do you understand what you are reading?” (Acts 8:30). In the parable of the sower, the true convert (the “good soil” hearer) both hears “and understands (Matt 13:23).” This understanding comes by the Law in the hand of the Spirit (Romans 7:7). If a sinner is ready to repent and believe upon the Savior, it is only because God has acted first by making him born again (John 3:3), and has drawn him by the Holy Spirit (John 6:44).
We are not the Holy Spirit and the sinner’s prayer is NOT the Savior. We must be careful to allow the Holy Spirit to do His work and not rush in where angels fear to tread. Praying a sinner’s prayer with someone who isn’t genuinely born again and repentant may leave you with a stillborn in your hands.
If a sinner expresses his or her need for Christ, call them to repent toward God and trust in Christ. If the Holy Spirit is leading them, they will know what to do.
Recall when Nathan confronted David about his sin, he didn’t lead the king in a prayer of repentance. We see David’s prayer of repentance in Psalm 51. God is looking for the presence of “godly sorrow,” not the right words. The tax collector simply prayed these seven words, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner (Luke 18:13). This or David’s prayer of repentance (Psalm 51) could be used as a model, but godly sorrow cannot be given to him or her by man.
Soli Deo Gloria: Preach and instruct people to repent and believe upon Christ (Mark 1:15) and leave the conversion to the Savior through The Holy Spirit.
(Inspired by The Evidence Bible “The “Sinner’s Prayer”—To Pray or Not To Pray?”)