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.
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.
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.