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The shortest sinner's prayer in the Bible is recorded for us in Luke Chapter 18, a chapter where Jesus was giving some parables on the subject of prayer. In verse 13 Jesus has a publican, that is, a hated tax gatherer praying the following words "God, be merciful to me, the sinner!"
In the next verse Jesus says of this social outcast ,
"I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted."
From this short parable we can draw the following lessons or principles,
Once Jesus shed His precious blood, died and rose again victorious from the tomb, we now have a new covenant or promise from God for the remission of our sins. The same principles apply as Jesus indicated in the parable and we have the inspired help from post-resurrection writers to help us form a Scriptural basis for the elements of a New Testament Sinner's Prayer. The elements of such a prayer are solidly based on the following Scriptures.
A Model Sinner's Prayer
"Dear God in heaven, I come before you in the name of Jesus. I confess that I am a sinner and ask you to forgive me and cleanse me from my sins. I receive Jesus as my Savior and ask Him to come into my heart. I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and that You raised Him from the dead. I ask you to please help me to live as you want me to live. I thank you for the gift of your wonderful Son Jesus and Your merciful free gift of salvation. In Jesus' wonderful name. Amen."
Saying such a prayer with a sincere intent will result in God performing a work in you that He alone can do. It does not bind one to following a denomination or human organization, but rather causes you to have a new birth (see John 3:3-5) and become a child of God (see John 1:12).
If you have been convicted of your sin by the Holy Spirit (see John 16:8), you have something to lose and something to gain by saying the preceding prayer with a sincere heart. You will lose the wages of sin, which is eternal death and gain the "free gift of God" which is "eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (see Romans 6:23) You can only lose the worst thing that can befall an unsaved person and can only gain the greatest spiritual riches mankind can ever know.
Why not do it now, none of us knows what tomorrow may bring! Be assured that the one presenting this to you understands your hesitancy or possible embarrassment as they have sat or stood in your situation before. Their fondest desire for you is that you to may come to know our Savior personally and live with the positive assurance that He and not we are the authors of our eternal salvation.
If you are already a Christian, trusting in Jesus alone as your Savior, you must remember that the Sinner's Prayer is obvious to you. It is not likely obvious to someone caught in a religious organization. You need to stress to the lost person(s) that salvation is God's wonderful gift through faith alone in Jesus alone.
You might indicate that as a Christian you could easily leave the group you currently worship and fellowship with and still have the assurance of salvation because the Church is not a man-made organization, but is composed of all those who are trusting in Jesus and not in self effort. ".... not as a result of works, that none should boast." (Eph. 2:9)
Salvation is completely dependent upon faith in Christ and not at all dependent upon belonging to a man-made organization.