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.