Tuesday, 11 November 2008

To pray or not to pray?

What follows is an excellent point made recently by a viewer of The Way Of The Master television programme.

"I've noticed that sometimes after you witness to people you encourage them to pray a prayer of repentance and faith later. Is this because you discern that they aren't ready to truly give their life to Jesus right then? I see the wisdom in not rushing a person to make a decision (we don't want to make a false convert), but wouldn't it be good to have them pray right then (if they have acknowledged their sin and understand the gospel) as long as we don't follow that prayer by saying, 'Congratulations, you're saved'? Shouldn't we have them pray before the conviction wears off? What if the actual verbalizing of a prayer makes something 'click' in their heart? Isn't waiting potentially as dangerous as rushing the person?"

Our methodology reveals our theology. If the conviction is there, it's only because the Holy Spirit is doing the convicting. That means that God's hand is on him, and he will come to Christ in God's timing. I don't ever want to interfere with a work of God. Another reason I ask if they would like to pray later (on TV) is that there is something a little awkward about surrendering to Christ on-camera. This is because I don't pray a "sinner's prayer" with him, but instead ask if he wants to pray a prayer of repentance, then I pray for him. Confessing and forsaking your sins is very personal, and I don't want to push someone into something they don't want to do. Remember, people aren't saved by verbalizing a prayer, but by their heartfelt repentance and surrender to Christ. God knows their heart.

1 comment:

Kurt Michaelson said...

Agreed. Why let the person go away from you without having stood with them, to pray with them after they have prayed and asked God to forgive them of their sins?

Although this is what we want to achieve when such a person has been convicted by the truth of what they have heard, we are responsible to be faithful to the preaching/witnessing of the gospel and those who hear it are responsible for acting upon what they have heard.

A person can do no more than lead another person to the cross of Jesus Christ and let them choose how they will respond, to the punishment of death that was for them, but placed upon Christ.