This article is based on the following quote:

“A person isn’t saved by repeating a prayer, they are saved by repenting of their sins and believing in Christ”.

The quote is of course true on the face of it. Though, it should be said that it cannot be disregarded that undoubtedly there would be countless numbers of people from the past to the present who actually have been saved by genuinely and heartily repenting of their sins and believing in Jesus Christ through repeating or confessing some sort of prayer.

It is the words that are contained within a prayer for Salvation and the state of the heart and intention of the expresser in prayer that determine whether a person was truly saved at the time of confessing it.

Typically, “repeating a prayer”, or perhaps one may call it formally expressing “a sinner’s prayer”, can be an important means to help or guide people into the Faith. Perhaps surprisingly (or not), there are many people who do not know how to be Saved and thus it is fair to say that they may be ready in God to do so at the time of stating “a sinner’s prayer” or communicating some other expression of belief in Christ. In other situations, people may have already been saved through some way and later decide to make a further Statement of Faith in affirmation of their belief in Christ. In other cases still, there would be people who are not sure if they are saved but are ready to tell God they genuinely believe in Jesus Christ at the time of a “formal prayer”.

On the other hand, undoubtedly, one can assume that there would also be people that did not get saved when they repeated a prayer for Salvation perhaps because their prayer wasn’t genuine or maybe they were not ready or perhaps even the “guider of prayer” wasn’t genuine. Importantly, it must also be said that I don’t know but would assume that those who have expressed or believe the quote have spoken or written or regard other relevant words elsewhere in context which may not diminish the power of certain words expressed for the desire of Salvation. Thus, in this light, I am not necessarily concluding that the quote is a person’s “full” belief on the matter because I of course simply do not know.

That being said, if the quote is a person’s “full” belief, that is, one that does not elaborate on or explain the belief then I assert that it is not appropriate to make a “blanket” statement which credibly can influence people against engaging in “repeating a prayer” or words and therefore becoming potentially saved. This is particularly so in situations where God has willed or enabled that “repeating a prayer” is the way that a particular person will be saved or make a affirmation of his or her Faith. In this respect, it goes without saying that God’s will for a person can never be discounted.

Moreover, it is important to note that the Word of God reveals that there are different “expressions” or “means” by which one can be saved through Jesus Christ, such as Joel 2:32 (‘everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved’); Romans 10:9-10 (“whoever declares ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believes in their heart that God raised Him from the dead”)(this can be likened to “repeating a prayer”); Mark 16:16 (‘whoever believes and is baptised’); and, Acts 10:44-48.

Acts 10:44-48 is an example that reveals how people can be saved without verbally stating a prayer. In this account the Holy Spirit fell on the people as they were hearing the Word of God. This represented that they had believed the good news of Jesus Christ seemingly without them stating anything and thus it is also true that one would not necessarily need to say certain words to be Saved but importantly that they are ready in God to be Saved.

That said, in the case of ‘confessing’ Christ, or “stating a prayer”, there is the example of the man that was crucified next to Jesus who told the Lord, “remember me when You come into Your Kingdom” (Luke 23:40-43) – and Jesus thus saved Him by His reply. This man simply stated this ‘prayer’ of belief in Jesus from his heart and became saved. So, these examples above reveal that it is not the “method” or “way” through which one may be saved that is vitally important, but rather, as stated, it is a belief in Christ that saves people which can happen through diverse means and expressions.

Therefore, if a person is truly genuine through the means of a “formal” confession of Faith while being guided and encouraged by another, or by doing so personally, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with this but rather such and the above examples should be regarded as very possible ‘ways’ to enter the kingdom of God. Thus, a simple and genuine “formal prayer”, like a ‘statement of faith’ in Jesus Christ, is definitely regarded as an “avenue” through which one may be saved and, significantly, “tenets of belief”, or “confessions of faith”, are in fact found in most if not every church website, and perhaps in other church material.

So, in this light, it is important that Christians should be careful to not, as it were, “put God in a box” and thus effectively conclude that God cannot save a genuinely repentant person through “repeating a prayer”. This would be naive as nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37) and, after all, Jesus says, “Ask, and it will be given to you…” (Matthew 7:7).

To reiterate, a genuine verbal proclaimation of Faith in Jesus Christ (like Rom 10:9-10) is undoubtedly a way that God would desire people to be saved when opportuned. Furthermore, as stated earlier, it may be that God has willed that Salvation should happen for a particular person or many people within a group of people engaging in the ‘repeat of a prayer’.

In any event, irrespective of whether it is God’s specific will at the time for a person to be saved through any type of guided or “model” prayer, the crucial issue nevertheless is that it should be treated as a call to Salvation and therefore should not be downplayed. Thus, “repeating a prayer” or confessing words is not out of place but is entirely scriptural and which the Holy Spirit is able to save a genuine person

Finally, and critically, “repeating a prayer” may actually be the only opportunity or way for a person and many people to enter God’s Kingdom throughout one’s life. Therefore, it must be emphasised that the opportunity to receive Salvation in this way should fundamentally never be denied nor withheld nor be associated with any doubt as to a person’s ability to be Saved. As stated earlier, it is without doubt that multitudes have been Saved in this way and continue to be Saved and therefore the “repeating of a prayer” should not be denounced nor misunderstood because the Price of missing Heaven is very high.