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Sinner's Prayer at Sam Houston State

January 30, 2014, Sam Houston State

All afternoon I noticed a clean cut man listening attentively but saying nothing.

At 4 PM I asked him, "Are you a Christian?" He affirmed that he was.

I asked, "When where you saved?"

He replied, "I have gone to church all of my life; I have always believed."

"That is good, but do you have a relationship with Christ?"

He responded, "I am not sure."

I explained to Austin how he could be sure he was friends with God and challenged him to make a full commitment to the Lord right now. Chris, from Chi Alpha, was standing beside me and he also urged Adam to make the commitment now. I called Adam forward. Austin, Chris, another brother and I joined arm in arm; I led Austin in a sinner's prayer, finishing with us all repeating the Lord's Prayer.

Some object to the usage of the sinner's prayer claiming it is not scriptural. However, it is based on Roman 10:9-10. I agree that it can be abused in conjugation with your typical altar call, "Now eyes closed, no one looking around, I don't want to embarrass anyone, slip up your hand and pray this prayer after me."

Bro. Jed

I challenged Austin in front of mockers to step out of the crowd and make a public profession of his need for forgiveness and a relationship with God. Under such circumstances a sinner's prayer may be very appropriate and helpful. When one merely repeats a sinner's prayer within the walls of a church and a sympathetic audience as his initial step of faith, subsequently, he is likely to only testify to God's saving grace in the context of a sympathetic audience. I trust that Adam will subsequently boldly testify to salvation outside the church walls, where the setting is often hostile to the gospel. These were the circumstances under which he took his first step.

It is easy for an open-air preacher to get pre-occupied with the mockers and hecklers or even the serious inquirers. Throughout the day I try to keep a watch for the quiet ones, who appear to be receiving my message. Sometimes it is profitable to call them out as I did with Austin, which resulted in his bold profession. Austin will not forget this day.


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