If you’ve gone to an evangelical church, you’re probably familiar with the “Sinner’s Prayer.” It’s a tactic conceived of around five decades ago during a time when church revivalists were seeking shortcuts to infuse churches in America with more members. The motives were likely sincere, but the results have been horrendous.
With the Sinner’s Prayer, parishioners are asked, usually at the end of a church service, whether anyone wants to be saved. Those who raise their hand are often brought forward or sent to a counselor who will then have them recite a prayer. There are many variations, but essentially it’s supposed to be a five-minute acknowledgement of sin and a request for Jesus Christ to come into their heart. They are often told to write the date of the event in the back of their Bible to commemorate the occasion and to act as a reminder of the gift they’d been given.
In theory, it’s a fine technique. It can even work from time to time when the subject takes the event as a starting point for them to explore their faith, read the Bible, and begin a life of prayer and repentance. But all too often, it’s a quickly forgotten moment that not only confuses people about what it means to be a born-again Christian, but may even hamper them from seeking proper acceptance of the Lord.
Evangelist Paul Washer is adamantly against the practice. He is known for being a “fire and brimstone” style Bible teacher whose ministry is spread around the world. He is also extremely critical of the lukewarm nature of American evangelism and claims the Sinner’s Prayer does plenty of damage while rarely doing anything positive for the people who participate in it.
If you want a better understanding of what the Sinner’s Prayer really is and why it’s so dangerous, watch Paul Washer’s video. It’s important for those seeking the truth and desiring to walk with Jesus Christ to understand what really needs to be done.