After all the questions and the process of searching to find Jesus, you’ve reached the final stage. This is where your friend wants to follow Jesus. It’s the most exciting part of the entire process! It’s not that all the questions have been answered. It’s that the seeker is getting closer to understanding God better.
But this is also the point of contention for many Christians. You’ve heard it a thousand times from the pastor at church. At the end of every service the pastor asks for people who want to commit their lives to Christ. If anybody response, he prays the “salvation prayer.”
All you can think of in your mind is, “This is a prayer for professionals. How would I ever be able to lead someone on my own? What if I mess up the words or miss something important?” The salvation prayer must be genuine and customized to each person. It is a profession of faith, not a grocery list.
If you mess this up, is the person really saved? These are the kinds of matters that run through the minds of Christians who want to lead others to Christ but are afraid of getting it wrong on the goal line.
No worries! You’re right in thinking that the salvation prayer should be customized to your seeker and it must contain certain confirmations of faith. But you’re wrong in thinking only a professional pastor can lead someone to Christ in this prayer. Any Christian can and should know how to lead someone in the prayer salvation.
It’s not as complicated as your thinking. In fact, if you overthink it, it will never be genuine. Like all prayer, it must be from the heart and your own words. Using the template is not wrong, but it’s not as authentic. God wants to hear from the seeker, not someone else’s prayer.
Remember, formulas don’t work well in Christianity when we are trying to speak to God. Templates help us start the conversation with him, but we must also mean what we say.
To lead the seeker in prayer, tell them to repeat after you. Include the fact that they must believe in their heart what they are saying with that mouth. So what should be included in the salvation prayer? Here are my thoughts on the essentials:
- An introduction – you want to introduce your seeker to Jesus for the first time. You can address him as Jesus. The name Jesus means “The Lord saves.” Just introducing him or her to Jesus is the introduction to salvation itself.
- A confession – the confession can be of sin but it is also a confession of faith. The seeker isn’t only confessing that he or she is a sinner but also that Jesus is the only one who can save them from sin. It could be anything simple like, “I know that I am a sinner and have done things against you in my past. But I want to know and serve you from now on.”
- A proclamation – this is the transition from death to life in your seeker. This is where Jesus changes all things. This is the formative “But God” in Scripture. It shows the transition from the old self to the new self. I usually declare, “You are my Lord and Savior. You are the Boss of my life. I will follow you from now on. You are the King on the throne of my heart.” Anything along these lines is just fine.
- A declaration of gratitude – lead the seeker in thanking the Lord for what he is doing in their life. Thank God for salvation and the opportunity to live for him. Thank him for leaving the seeker to the Lord.
- The first request – the seeker is no longer seeker. They have been found by Jesus. As a new member of the community of faith, the first request is the beginning of many. I usually have the first request to be for the Holy Spirit’s guidance. “Lord, lead me by your Holy Spirit and open my ears to hear and obey him. Help me to grow in
End the prayer as you would yourself. I usually say, “In the name of Jesus, Amen.” As you can see, these guideposts not only help you lead the seeker and a genuine and custom prayer, but they also show the new Christian how to pray.
After the prayer, greet this new brother or sister in Christ. Let them know that they have a community and a family in Jesus. You have prepped them for the next step, the beginning of the rest of their life in Jesus.
In our next post, we will talk about the next steps for this new believer to enter God’s family and grow in the faith. Leave a comment and let me know what you include when you lead someone to Christ.