Can a prayer save you? I mean is it the choosing of the correct words that saves people? I just prayed with six young men at the jail that were seeking to be saved. Woo-hoo! Now that’s what I’m talking about! They all came up, and I asked them if any of them had ever said a prayer to be saved before. One guy looked right at me and said “lots of times but nothing happened.” Now you know why I asked that question. I have heard stories like this over and over again. I think we, as Christians, are doing people a disservice sometimes by implying we just have to say a prayer to be saved. I told these guys I wasn’t going to lead them in a prayer because it really wasn’t about the words they say but about their heart. Jesus once said, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far away from me.” I shared with those guys if their heart isn’t open to God the words of their prayers would mean nothing. What we say does play a part, but the main thing is where our heart is. Some of you may think this is too harsh. I think praying with someone and declaring them saved even when they know they aren’t is much worse. The Bible tells us “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
I told those men to open their heart to God and trust him. I said, “God isn’t expecting them to live the Christian life, but if we are open to him he will come in and live it through them.” I said, “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” I gave them the example of marriage. I said, “My wife now has the last name Lewis because she married me. We are only a Christian because we are joined in union with Christ.” That’s how salvation takes place we are joined spiritually to him and he lives the Christian life from within us.
I once heard Norman Grubb on T.V. telling Robert Schuller about his morning prayer. He said something like this “Good morning Lord what are you up to today? I want to be a part of it.” I shared this with these men tonight. I told them “At the beginning of my day I ask God what he’s up to and look to be a part of it.” I don’t really ask God what he wants me to do for him. One guy said, “I ask him what I can do to serve him today.” I told him, “That’s fine but if you ask him what he’s up to, and have your eyes open to find out, then you will see what it is he wants you to do.” He seemed to understand.
After we left those guys there were several more yelling at us as we walked down the hall. They were coming up to the “bean flap” to shake our hands and ask us to pray for them or their family. One guy yelled “Louie, have you seen my brother? Tell him to come see me!” I told him, “I haven’t gotten a chance to talk to him yet, but I haven’t forgotten about you.” Some of these guys never have visitors or letters; it must get depressing sometimes. I know we can’t help all of them or fix their problems, but it is great to be able to share the Word of God with them and a little hope.
Written by Louie