Help with prayer.
In the Bible there are examples of how a repentant sinner prayed and was justified in the sight of God.
In Luke 18:9-14. A parable from our Lord Jesus, the Pharisee stood and prayed a, boastful and self-righteous prayer thanking God he was not like the publican. But the tax collector (publican) in verse 13;
"standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!"
In the very next verse our Lord tells us that it is this man who went down to his house justified before God and not the other. The reason? One humbled himself and confessed and prayed from the heart, while the other did not.
Another example is, the two criminals on the cross. In Luke, chapter 23:39-43 one of the criminals was challenging Jesus, saying;
"If You are the Christ save Yourself and us.” But immediately the other rebuked this accusation against our Lord and boldly declared;
“Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
In both of these, we see a completely spontaneous confession: no one was putting words in their mouth. No one told them what to say. They searched God from their heart and He heard them in their own words. There was no ritual or repeating of words, only a cry unto the Lord for mercy and forgiveness from the heart.
The Lord exhorts those who would seek Him;
Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity;
God does not say, " I will be found by you if you just repeat this sinner's prayer from a book a tract, pastor or evangelist!" No! He said when you search for Me with all your heart! God wants to hear our own prayer and confession, not words someone else puts in our mouth to help us out or make it easier.
There must be real conviction before conversion, and our confession must be with humility and spontaneous, praying from the heart.
The Bible teaches us about conviction and godly sorrow that brings repentance unto salvation.
In 2 Corinthians 7:10, Paul tells us; “ For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death”.
Unless there is a godly sorrow and conviction over sin, there is no real repentance that leads to forgiveness and salvation. Repeating of words or rituals is not what God requires of us.
One must seek God with all of their heart, one must have godly sorrow over sin leading to repentance, and must cry out to God from the heart, otherwise it's just a religious form or a pretence that God will not honor. "The LORD looks upon the heart." Therefore, your prayer to Him must be from the heart, not words put in your mouth from another.
Biblical prayer of repentance: Here
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