Anyone who has been around Christianity very long knows about these, right? Every head bowed, every eye closed. Now if you have felt the Spirit’s leading, I’d like to lead you in a prayer for salvation. Just repeat after me. Jesus, I know I’m a sinner who can’t save myself. I need your grace to cover my transgressions. Please come into my heart and make it your home.
Something like that.
I’m not arguing the truth of any of those statements. What I take issue with is the results of that kind of introduction into faith. Here are my concerns
1. People in the Bible begin the life in faith and never have anything close to this. As far as I can see, God’s presence in a person’s life signifies the beginning of their faith, not a specific prayer.
2. These kinds of prayers usually point to Jesus as Savior, but not as Lord. This kind of mentality poisons faith early on by leaving out an essential point. Jesus wants to have a continuing relationship with us, not just a one time meeting.
3. Does God need an invitation if we have decided to have faith in Him? I’m not super stressed about Ordo Salutis, but I think if we decide to have faith in God, he is already in our lives (and hearts).
4. Surely there has to be a better way to have a public profession of faith. The whole “every head bowed, every eye closed” thing calls into question how much risk we are willing to have in our faith. If you can’t acknowledge your beliefs in front of a bunch of other believers, it can’t be much of a conviction.
How about you? Do you lead others in a prayer of salvation?