As a pastor, I receive many unexpected phone calls. Some people call to announce good news. Others are seeking love and care when tragedy strikes. Sometimes I get a call like this, “Pastor Ron, I have been reading my Bible and I feel like I need to get right with God. What do I do?” In the past, I used to guide people like that into prayer. I would explain what they should say to God even directing their words at times. I am not sure whether I was trying to help the person learn how to pray, or if I was afraid God would not show up. Either way, I was placing myself in between the individual and God.
My approach has changed since hearing a particular man’s testimony of salvation. He attended a church service and came under deep conviction from God. The pastor invited people to come forward for prayer at the end of the service. The man rose from his seat and approached the front of the church where he was greeted by a young boy, “What are you doing here?” Surprised by this greeting, the man replied, “I am here to confess my sin.” The boy asked, “Which sins did you come to confess?” “I don’t know,” the man answered. “Mister, you just kneel down here and ask God. He will tell you what sins you need to confess.” This young boy was wise beyond his years. He knew better than to come between a man and his Creator. Instead the boy brought the man to God and let the two of them do business together.
There is no specific prayer of salvation to pray anyway. At least I can’t find one in the Bible. The closest thing I find is the words from the thief on the cross, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom (Luke 23:42).” His prayer was a simple declaration of faith. The thief believed Jesus was God and about to return to His throne, and he simply asked Jesus to remember him. That simple declaration of faith was rewarded by Jesus, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
We often act as though prayer is difficult, but the only difficulty lies within our hearts. There are no magic words, and there is no specific place to pray. God invites us to simply talk to Him, and He always shows up when His people come to Him in believing prayer.
2 Chronicles 7:14 – If My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.