Trinitarian Sinner’s Prayer, Part I: The Father

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I’ve been wrestling with how and when to encourage my children to make a profession of faith. I recently realized that God used an incremental process to reveal Himself to us:

  1. Father as Creator & Judge
  2. Jesus as Savior & Lord
  3. Spirit as Comforter & Counselor

It seems like that same progression might make sense for young children.   It may be a while before they can understand the idea of Christ dying for their sins.  But even as toddlers, they already understand (even if they don’t practice) the idea of obeying a father who created them.  Why not use that as a springboard for conversations about submitting to God?

While that isn’t the whole gospel, it is an essential step — and one that God used for several thousands years. The goal is to avoid concepts and words they don’t understand yet, but still be as accurate as possible in what it does cover.

Perhaps something like this…

[DRAFT 1]

Dear God,

Thank you for creating me, and my family, and this wonderful world we live in.

Thank you that you love me, and want what’s best for me.

Thank you for sending Jesus so that we can get to know you.

I accept You as my Heavenly Father.

Help me to love you the way I love my parents, and the way they love you.

Help me to listen to you, and obey you, even as I try to listen to and obey my earthly father.

Help me to share your love with others, the way Jesus did.

I ask this in the way Jesus told us to ask you.

Amen.

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2 thoughts on “Trinitarian Sinner’s Prayer, Part I: The Father

  1. Baptists vote to keep the Sinner’s Prayer…again

    Preuters News Agency
    London

    Meeting today in London, a convention of the world’s Baptists narrowly endorsed the continued use of the Sinner’s Prayer as the hallmark act of Christian conversion. Here is the final draft of the convention’s statement on this issue:

    “Baptists today again affirm the Sinner’s Prayer as the act by which a sinner is justified before God. To be clear, it is not the recitation of the prayer itself that saves, nor is it necessary to endorse a set order of the words to be prayed, nor must the prayer be verbalized to others. What is necessary for salvation is this: A genuine, heartfelt prayer that 1.) acknowledges one’s sinfulness and hopeless state of perdition before God 2.) cries out to God with true repentance of one’s sins 3.) petitions God for his free gift of salvation 4.) asks Christ to indwell his heart/soul 5.) commits to abandoning his prior sinful lifestyle and promises to follow Christ and his righteousness.”

    Controversy over this statement simmered for the entire three days of the convention. A group of younger Baptists from the developing world pushed for the removal of the Sinner’s Prayer from the Baptist Statement of Faith, declaring that it was unscriptural and lacked any evidence of use in the Early Church. These young people read statements from the Early Church Fathers from the convention podium, noting that requiring a prayer (spoken or thought) for salvation was unheard of in the Early Church. This assertion created quite a stir as many of the older convention attendees were not accustomed to hearing appeals to the “catholic” Church Fathers as a source of authority for Baptist doctrine.

    The younger group put forward a new, brash, proposal as the new official Baptist Act of Christian Conversion:

    “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.”

    This proposal prompted outrage from the majority of convention attendees. One prominent Baptist pastor from the United States summed up the majority’s sentiments by this statement:

    “Too Lutheran.”

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