Sinner's Prayer (5 simple examples) for Kids

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Sinner's Prayer for Kids - Examples for Children to Repeat

Imagine a child is ready to accept Christ …. but they can’t find the words.

That’s when a simple example prayer asking for salvation (aka “The Sinner’s Prayer”) is helpful. Asking God to forgive your sins is not complicated and the words alone are not magic. Jesus looks at the heart of repentance and anyone praying to Him in faith can be saved. I’ve read about the debate about this practice, but still believe a model prayer is important for kids who want to give their life to Jesus.

Here are some great examples to get you started.

Variations of the Sinner’s Prayer

Biblical Salvation Prayer (from Jesus)

Luke 18:13 contains the prayer of the tax collector, as told by Jesus. This parable shows that heart felt repentance is much more important than the particular formula of words.

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’

Classic Prayer to Be Forgiven

Dear God, I know I’m a sinner. I know my sin deserves to be punished. I believe Christ died for me and rose from you grave. I trust Jesus alone as my Savior. Thank you for the forgiveness and everlasting life I now have. In Jesus’ name, amen. [source]

Simple Sinner’s Prayer for Younger Children

Jesus – I know that you made me and want me to obey you with all my heart. I know I have disobeyed and wanted to be my own boss. I have thought and done things against your directions. I am sorry. I know that you gave up his life to save me from these sins and make me your child again. I accept your promises and ask you to please save me now and forever. Amen.

Billy Graham‘s Version of the Sinner’s Prayer

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In Your Name. Amen.[19]

Campus Crusade for Christ Salvation Prayer

Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.[20]

How do you teach the “Sinner’s Prayer” to Children?

Theologically, such prayers should express two concepts – repentance for sins and faith in salvation offer found in Jesus. No child should be compelled or mislead into such a prayer (that would have not effect and only breed confusion).

I’d love to hear your thoughts. What model prayer do you use when inviting a child to give their life to Jesus? Leave a comment below and share your experience.

8 thoughts on “Sinner's Prayer (5 simple examples) for Kids”

  1. Thank you Tony!
    If we don’t lead them, who will? We as parents and teachers can show them the way and also tell them what we said when we came to the end of ourselves and began to follow Christ in trust. Our truth will shine through and they will be saved. The promise is that ,…”those who seek Me early will find Me”…Also, “…let the little children come, for of such us the kingdom of God”… SHOW AND TELL

  2. I really honour what you have to say here. I think Tony”s comment about children knowing they have to repent & that the must accept Jesus is important. As we lead them, we need to speak words they understand .

  3. I brought my great uncle who is a very decent intellectual man to Crice but I did it through simple miracles that happened over and over again that made him come to me and say I want to be baptized. And I’m so grateful that he receive Christ before he died at the age of 98 he was 94 at a time. Now I have a cousin who is deeply rooted in paganism or as what she likes to call old religion. I know she has practice witchcraft and her soulis very hardened. Again the Lord is starting to work through me by showing her miracles like finding a lost dog etc. I know God is working through me for her because she is in stage liver disease. I just know that I have to go very carefully and slowly with her and I would need the perfect sinners prayer that would work for her When she decides to finally receive him. Any you suggestions would be welcomed. Is so good and so powerful especially in times like this when he uses me as an instrument thank you Jesus!

  4. The prayer is said AFTER the decision is made. So as long as there is conviction of the truth, however ‘imperfect’ the prayer is won’t matter. The prayer isn’t what decides it for the believer. The prayer simply actions the belief. As long as it conveys belief that Jesus is Lord, that he died for your sins and rose from the dead, and invites Him into your heart then really any wording will do.

  5. Thank you for the example for young children. I teach 3-year-olds in a Christian preschool. Even though we are a Christian preschool, we have a percentage of children who come from unchurched homes. After a lot of explaining and examples of what it means to live for Jesus, I pray a prayer of repentance and give them the option of praying along. So many of the phrases we use to express this are confusing to 3 and 4 year olds who take things so literally. If we “invite Jesus to live in our hearts”, they get the image of a little man in their physical hearts. I am always looking for simple ways to express becoming a member of God’s family.

  6. Why does the tax collector prayed that kind of prayer?

    Because he has understand how wretched he is, how sinful he is by comparing himself to God (through His law) God’s ultimate standard of goodness and no amount of personal effort (or prayer) that could save him. He realizes he need a Saviour and cling to the mercy of God. Hence he cried out for God’s mercy.

    I don’t want my kids to pray the prayer for the sake of praying it, I want them to understand how wretched they are and in need of a Saviour and Lord.

  7. My husband and I always believed in Jesus. After 5 months in nursing care, he couldn’t speak, stand or eat, because of dementia. I saw a rerun of Billy Graham preaching and he said the sinners prayer. During the last week of my husband’s life, I placed my hand on his shoulder or chest, and said this prayer. Lord Jesus I am a sinner. I am sorry for my sins. Please forgive me. Please heal me so that I can enter into Your heavenly kingdom. In Your Holy Name Jesus, we ask. Amen. God is merciful. My husband passed before sunrise, in his sleep Thursday.

  8. Rosie
    April 23, 2022 at 9:14 A.M.

    I teach children’s Ministry at our church. Our word for this Sunday to discuss is “Forgiveness”. My students are 9 to 12 years old. Thank you for all of the examples of forgiveness prayers. I believe that if a child can learn how important forgiveness is at an early age, it will prevent them from growing into adulthood carrying grudges, strife, envy and unforgiveness throughout their lives, as we see so readily today.

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