Many in the Church today are under the impression that being focused on leading people in a “sinners prayer” means being focused on winning the lost for Christ. Ironically, it would seem that Jesus didn’t qualify for membership in that group. Jesus never spoke of leading a person in a prayer for salvation. No one in the Bible ever did.
The Example of Christ
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not necessarily opposed to it as long as it’s not the result of pressure or fear. I have led many in a prayer of faith for salvation myself. I’ve lived and ministered under that model. But I’ve also led general church-wide prayers for salvation, asking for nothing more than a raised hand of acknowledgement, all because I was pressured by those above me into the idea that I had to be sensitive to those people present; many of whom, in reality, were not even seeking God. But, after years of trying to conform and find the wisdom in it, I have concluded that it’s not only an extra-biblical model, it’s fundamentally unbiblical and inadequate as well.
Christ is our only perfect model, from beginning to end. Jesus commanded us to go everywhere, heal the sick, and declare the good news of the kingdom of God. It seems to me that one of the primary reasons that we do what He didn’t say but don’t do what He did say is because we know we can accomplish it in our own natural power and we can control our image.
Shake off the Shackles of Humanism
In every era, churches are tempted to shift to a model that seems to be drawing more people—a model that is possible to duplicate by purely human means. Sadly, just like leading someone in a prayer, we tend to minimize everything down to what can be done without God. Today, the model is to spend our efforts creating pleasing, deliberately structured environments and utilizing modern marketing techniques to get the lost in so we can eventually lead them into praying a prayer. We can utilize whatever language that works best for us to present it as a God-given idea. We can find justification in the bible for anything we want to believe. But, there is no God-given idea that doesn’t rely on faith and isn’t centered on the demonstration and model of Christ Himself.
Inevitably, the humanistic model leads to confining the demonstration of the power of God into a back room for fear of offending people who don’t know God. But when those people truly lay hold of eternal life, they begin growing and reading their Bibles. They begin to wonder why they haven’t heard of or seen the things that were of primary focus to Jesus, the apostles, and the early church. Before long we find that we are promoting nothing more than humanistic religion and not the Christ-like life. Its time to get back to that biblical Christianity: counting the cost to follow Christ, dying to ourselves and all else, taking up our cross to follow Him alone.
Its time to go out everywhere and rely on the demonstration of the power of God and the drawing of the Holy Spirit to win the lost. Its time to disciple believers into the fullness of Christ. Its time for the real gospel again.
Jeremy Caris is the founder and president of Caris Ministries. Since he is called as a prophet and gifted as a teacher, much of his focus involves equipping believers to hear, know, and follow God in their own daily experience. He teaches the foundational truth of the Word with simple clarity, while revealing deep things of the spirit in practical ways. He has the unique ability to demystify the supernatural side of real relationship with a living God and make it an embraceable and accessible reality for all believers. Jeremy has been married to his best friend, Mandy Caris, for twenty years, and is the proud father of two boys.