Most “churchgoers” teach that the Sinner’s Prayer is an unsaved person’s invitation to Jesus the Christ—a prayer in which an unsaved person asks the Lord to come into his or her heart so that he or she can be saved. Unfortunately, there are so many reasons why this teaching is not from God. The three most important reasons why this teaching is not from God are as follows:
First, the point of view about the Sinner’s Prayer being step one of several steps that lead to salvation is not biblical. Nowhere in the New Testament is there anything that remotely suggests that people can be saved by first saying or repeating a Sinner’s Prayer, because NOWHERE in the New Testament is any sinner instructed or encouraged to “pray” for his or her salvation. Why? Well, because prayer is an avenue of communication between God the Father and His children (those believers who have a SPIRITUAL relationship with God, which is made possible through the Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection—His SPIRITUAL covenant/contract with the Bride of Christ, the Body of Christ). Thus, an unsaved person is not a Child of God (cf. John 9:31)!
NOTE too that New Testament Scriptures like James 5:16 and 1 John 1:8-9, etc., pertain to BELIEVERS! Moreover, the thief on the cross who asks the Lord to remember him when the Lord comes into His Kingdom could not at that moment be saved, because Jesus the Christ had not yet died, had not been buried, and had not been resurrected! The Lord, however, did forgive the thief’s sins, and He did restore this Jewish man to his Old Testament “physical” covenant relationship, which in turn would place this thief in the Paradise compartment of Hell where Abraham and other faithful Jews were. In essence, the thief was not sent to the Torments compartment of Hell, and he was not sent to the Abyss!
Second, it is God through Jesus the Christ who does the inviting. Indeed, the Lord invites sinners to come to Him, because He is the only ONE who can do the drawing (cf. Matthew 11:28-30; John 12:32). This drawing, however, involves being “born-again,” which, by the way, is exclusively God the Father’s work that has nothing to do with what people say or do! In other words, because of the regenerative work of God’s Grace, God’s Faith, and God’s Holy Spirit, people are able to confess with their tongues and believe in their hearts the Gospel’s Truth (preached Word of God) about Jesus the Christ being the Son of God, whose atoning sacrifice makes it possible to receive Him as their personal Savior and Lord!
Third, those “churchgoers” who have been teaching unsaved people that they will be saved if they pray a prayer in which they invite the Lord into their hearts are why there are so many people who, because they prayed such a prayer, now think that they are saved, when many of them are not! Furthermore, the Scriptures teach that calling out the Lord’s name—that is, saying “Lord, Lord”—is not enough to obtain either the regenerative or the saving work of God’s Grace, God’s Faith, and God’s Holy Spirit, especially if the person calling the Lord’s name is NOT doing the Will of the Father (cf. Matthew 7:21; Luke 6:46; John 9:31).
Just like water baptism never saved any lost souls, for many dry devils were dipped into water only to be raised up out of it as wet devils, the Sinner’s Prayer also never saved any lost souls, for many sinners were just as unrepentant and disobedient after their “Amen” as they were at the beginning of their Sinner’s Prayer. Therefore, if everyone who says a Sinner’s Prayer doesn’t receive salvation, then the Sinner’s Prayer cannot be from God. Instead, the Sinner’s Prayer is a snare that tricks lost souls into believing in a false assurance of salvation!
The bottom line is this: Since Jesus the Christ and His first-century disciples never asked or required anyone to repeat ANYTHING after them, then no modern-day evangelists or “church” spiritual leaders have the right to ask or require anyone to repeat a Sinner’s Prayer after them. Lastly, the goal of every evangelist or “church” spiritual leader has never been to get lost souls to pray any prayer. The goal ALWAYS has been to be a witness for Jesus the Christ—to lead the unsaved world to the Lord by demonstrating to lost souls how to live for Him.