The churches of Christ Greet You (Romans )
A most popular tradition of religious men today is the so-called Sinner’s Prayer. The origin of this doctrine is not clear, but it is clear that this teaching has no Biblical authority whatsoever when applied to the alien sinner (Col. 3:17). We have all heard television evangelists ask the audience to say a prayer with them in order to call Jesus into their heart and be saved. Why is it that every time this prayer is uttered, it is never the same prayer? In fact, it varies greatly from false teacher to false teacher.
If you were in the town of Damascus two thousand years ago, and found yourself in the same room with Saul of Tarsus, what would you have heard uttered from his lips in prayer (Acts 9)? Saul prayed for three days (Acts 9:9, 11). Saul believed in Christ, calling Him Lord (Acts 9:6). If anyone could have been saved through the avenue of prayer, it would have been Saul. As we look to an account of his conversion in Acts 22, we will notice Saul was yet in his sins after three days of prayer. His sins "were not" washed or remitted until he obeyed the preaching of Ananias and was baptized (Acts 22:16).
On the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), Peter stood up with the eleven and proclaimed the words of the prophet Joel, “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Did Joel reveal what must be done to call upon His name? NO! (Acts 2:16‑21). In God’s wisdom He waited until the right time to allow the apostles of Christ (Peter and the eleven) to revealed the meaning of Joel's prophetically recorded statements (Acts 2:22‑37). Under great distress and discomfort because of the preaching of this new revelation, some asked, "men and brethren what shall we do?" in reference to their sin and conduct (Acts 2:37). Did Peter say unto them "repent and pray"? NO! He commanded them to “repent and be baptized…for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).
This is in complete harmony with the words of Christ before He left this earth (Matt. 28:19‑20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:47). Those on the day of Pentecost were saved because they gladly received the word and were baptized (Acts 2:41). Those that gladly receive (believe and obey – Heb. 5:8-9) the Gospel message are the recipients of God's grace (John 1:12; Rom. 1:16‑17; 5:1‑2; 6:1‑18; 1 Cor. 1:18, 21). One must be in Christ to be a partaker of His blessings (Eph. 1:3); one of those blessings is the power of prayer. The alien sinner will not be able to use prayer to get into Christ (John 9:31). The way into Christ is to be baptized into Him (Rom. 6:2‑6; Gal. 3:26‑27).