It is commonly accepted and taught in Christianity today that one must choose to believe in Jesus Christ to be saved to heaven. As the confirmation of this belief to secure eternal life, they are called upon to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” and invite Jesus into their heart and accept Christ as their Personal Savior. Therefore, let us consider this question together. Is praying the “Sinner’s Prayer” for salvation a biblical command? The scriptural answer is both “yes” and no”. Yes, born-again sinners are called upon to pray unto God and confess Jesus as our Savior. No, this prayer does not result in gaining eternal life. The praying of this prayer does not initiate the new birth or change one from dead in sins to life in Christ. No, the praying of the Sinner’s Prayer is rather the “evidence” of eternal salvation (John 5:24), not the “cause” of eternal salvation. This prayer does not cause the new birth in the sinner’s heart, but this prayer does give peace and assurance to the soul of the already born-again child of God who is burdened and convicted over their sin. There is a salvation and deliverance for the child of God in praying the Sinner’s Prayer, but that salvation occurs in their heart and in their life here, not in gaining eternal life. Belief, confession, and prayer are always the “evidence” and “effect” of the new birth and eternal life, never the “cause” of gaining eternal life in heaven. We will consider the proper treatment of the Sinner’s Prayer according to the word of God.
The supposed requirement of praying the Sinner’s Prayer to go to heaven became popularized in the early to mid-20th century with well-known evangelists holding huge rallies to preach the gospel. Since they were unable to teach and disciple Christians in the context of the local church but were just in town for a big church rally, these evangelists began to call upon sinners at their rallies to make a decision for Christ and pray to be saved to heaven. Conspicuously, there are essentially no references to the Sinner’s Prayer as we know it in the first 1,800 years of Christianity prior to the last century. Billy Graham is probably the most well-known of these evangelists who promoted the Sinner’s Prayer. The suggested wording for the Sinner’s Prayer according to Billy Graham was as follows:
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.”
That is a good prayer for the sinner to pray (all except for inviting Jesus into your heart). However, you will not find that prayer in the Bible. Actually, you will not find the Sinner’s Prayer in the Bible at all! Despite what you may have heard in Christianity all your life, there is actually no command in all the word of God to pray the Sinner’s Prayer to be saved to heaven. There is not anywhere in the scriptures we are even told to “pray” to be saved. We are told to believe to be saved (Acts 16:31); we are told to confess with our mouth and believe in our heart to be saved (Rom. 10:9); we are told to call upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Rom. 10:13). Belief, confession, and calling on the Lord do give a salvation and deliverance for the child of God, but it is salvation from ignorance and shame (Rom. 10:3,11), not a salvation from hell to heaven. Regardless, there is nowhere in the word of God we are told to pray a prayer to go to heaven. Prayer has been equated to “calling” on the name of the Lord (Rom. 10:13), but scripture still does not command us to pray to be saved to heaven.
If all the world’s eternal life is hinging on praying the Sinner’s Prayer, how is it possible that God did not expressly tell us that prayer in his word? There is actually a lot of variation in the wording of the Sinner’s Prayer depending on what person, denomination, or group you consult. Why is there no official wording for the Sinner’s Prayer? Because the Sinner’s Prayer is not in the Bible; the word of God does not give us the wording for the Sinner’s Prayer, and thus the prayer that supposedly holds all the world’s eternal fate has been created and worded by men. If all the world’s eternal destination hinged on them praying a prayer, don’t you think Jesus would have explicitly given us the exact words to pray? But Jesus didn’t; the word of God is silent. What if we say it wrong since we don’t know the right words? Do we miss out on eternal life if we say the wrong words? This would be the most important thing in all of scripture. Don’t you think this prayer would be on every page of the Bible, calling on the sinner to pray this prayer if eternal life hangs in the balance? But yet the Sinner’s Prayer is conspicuously absent from scripture. In 66 books of the Bible, over 750,000 total words, 27 books of the New Testament, especially in all the red letters of Jesus’ words in the 4 gospels, God never got around to telling us what prayer to pray to go to heaven?
The rich young ruler asked Jesus, “What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” (Matt. 19:16). What a perfect opportunity for Jesus to set the record straight for how we are saved to heaven! Jesus didn’t give the same answer as most preachers in Christianity do today. Jesus didn’t say, “You have to believe in Jesus, invite me into your heart, and pray the Sinner’s Prayer to have eternal life.” No. Actually, Jesus goes the other direction and tears down the rich young ruler’s idea of a “works salvation”, that there was something that “I can do” to have eternal life. For you to be saved to heaven, it would not be by you praying one prayer, but by obeying the law perfectly, but there is always “one thing thou lackest” that will condemn us before God (Matt. 19:17-21). Praying one prayer cannot overrule all the rest of our sins that condemn us to hell. No, we would have to live a perfect life to have eternal life, but there is none righteous, none good, no not one (Rom. 3:10-12). The disciples were flabbergasted and questioned, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus answered, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” (Matt. 19:25-26) Therefore, it is impossible with man to do anything to have eternal life (the work of prayer included). How are we saved to heaven then? By God alone because with God all things are possible (not with man’s cooperation by praying a prayer).
If we were saved to heaven by praying the Sinner’s Prayer, then we would clearly be saved by works, and not by grace. Praying a prayer is clearly a work; it is something we do. If you begin a prayer going to hell, and you end a prayer going to heaven, what are you saved by? You are not saved to heaven by Jesus; you are saved by your prayer; you are saved by your work. However, we cannot be saved by our works (we cannot be saved by our prayer) because eternal salvation is by grace alone (2 Tim. 1:9, Eph. 2:8-9, Rom. 11:6). We are not saved to heaven by our choice to pray a prayer. We are saved by God’s choice, not your choice. We are saved to heaven by God’s choice to unconditionally save his people by the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. We are saved by grace, God’s unmerited favor bestowed upon undeserving sinners. We do not receive eternal life as payment for performing the work of praying the Sinner’s Prayer. We are saved by grace, not by our prayer.
Let’s think practically for a minute. At what point in that prayer are you actually saved to heaven? At your confession of sin? At inviting Jesus into your heart? At concluding the prayer with “Amen”? If you begin with good intentions but give up on your prayer halfway, then you didn’t make it to eternal life because you stopped a few words early? You begin a prayer as an unsaved, hell-condemned sinner but you end that prayer as saved, heaven-bound child of God. What saved you to heaven? Your prayer saved you. What made you God’s child? Your prayer did. You are saved by works. You are saved to heaven by your prayer. God forbid! We are saved by grace alone, not of works lest any man should boast. Instead, many people do “boast” about the prayer they prayed. “I prayed the Sinner’s Prayer, and I got saved.” That is too many first-person pronouns in our testimony. That is boasting in your works instead of glorying solely in the cross of Jesus Christ (Gal. 6:14). We do not boast in our prayer for eternal salvation. We boast alone in Jesus Christ, his grace, and his finished work of eternal salvation on the cross!
We are told to “confess” Jesus as our Savior with our mouth, and “believe in thine heart” that God has raised him from the dead (Rom. 10:9). If we confess something that is false, then we are bearing false witness, breaking God’s commandment. We can only confess something that is true and already occurred. If we publicly confess, that Jesus is our Savior, that does not make it a fact; it publicly affirms that we believe what is already true. If we believe that Jesus saved us, that doesn’t make it true. God would not command us to believe a falsehood to make it true. No, if we believe and confess Jesus as our Savior it must already be true. Jesus is already the Savior to those who confess his name; our confession does not make us God’s child. Jesus taught us how to pray in the model prayer beginning with “Our Father”. This term of Father presupposes a prior familial and fatherly relationship. It would be inappropriate to begin a prayer addressing God as our Father when he is not yet our Father. It would be inappropriate to call God our Father at the beginning of our prayer when we are not yet his child until the end of the prayer. This makes no sense. We can only confess and believe what is already true, not to make it true. We confess and believe in Jesus Christ because we “are already saved”, not to get saved to heaven.
Jesus conspicuously squandered his opportunity to call on the world to pray the Sinner’s Prayer to go to heaven with the rich, young ruler. He instead affirmed man’s inability to do anything to go to heaven, prayer included. Peter squandered his opportunity too on the day of Pentecost. The convicted hearers asked Peter, “Men and brethren what shall we do?” Peter said, “You need to repent and be baptized.” (Acts 2:37-38) Peter didn’t say you need to pray the Sinner’s Prayer to go to heaven. No, you need to repent and be baptized to save yourselves from this untoward generation. This invitation is to “as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39). Eternal salvation is not by the sinner calling on the name of God, but instead, salvation is by God “calling you” sovereignly by his grace. Also notice, these men were already “devout” men (Acts 2:5) who were “pricked in the heart” at the preaching of the gospel (Acts 2:37). These men who believed were already born-again devout men who had a heart of flesh that could be pricked by the gospel. These were not unregenerate men in need of eternal life; these were devout, born-again men who were in need of peace and assurance in their pricked and convicted hearts. Again, belief of the gospel and prayer unto God is always the “evidence” of eternal salvation, never the “cause” of eternal life.
Peter again missed out on his opportunity to call on men to pray the Sinner’s Prayer to go to heaven. When he had finally arrived at Cornelius’ house, all these Gentiles were ready to listen and obey any command that Peter gave them, “We are all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.” (Acts 10:33) Instead of Peter calling on these Gentiles to pray the Sinner’s Prayer, he actually praises God that these Gentiles are “already accepted” with God (Acts 10:34-35). They did not need to accept Jesus to go to heaven, but their zeal of God and desire to hear the word of God was evidence to Peter that they were “already accepted” with God by Jesus Christ. Here we again see an already born-again child of God in need of the assurance of the gospel. Cornelius was already “a devout man, feared God with all his house, gave much alms, and prayed to God always” (Acts 10:2). An angel of God affirms that Cornelius’ prayers and alms already came up as a memorial before God (Acts 10:4). This is not an unregenerate man who needs to pray a prayer to go to heaven; his continual prayers already came up before God as a memorial. He was already born again, but he needed the instruction of the gospel to know about Jesus Christ to confess his name and be baptized. Again, Cornelius’ belief in Jesus was “evidence” of his eternal life, not the “cause” of him gaining eternal life.
God Cannot Hear the Prayer of the Wicked
One significant problem with offering the unregenerate the ability to pray the Sinner’s Prayer to go to heaven is that God cannot even hear their prayer in their unregenerate wicked state. The prayer of the wicked is an abomination in the sight of God. “8) The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord: but the prayer of the upright is his delight. 29) The Lord is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.” (Prov. 15:8,29) The Lord is far from the wicked. He does not listen and certainly does not answer any words the wicked might offer up as a prayer. Therefore, if one begins a prayer as an unregenerate wicked person then they can never actually be saved because God can never hear their prayer. The person must first be made righteous before his prayer can be heard before God. One must be born again by the Holy Spirit prior to praying any prayer that will be heard and answered by the Lord.
Whose prayers does God hear? The upright and the righteous (Prov. 15:8,29). Actually, the only way anyone’s prayer can be heard before God the Father is through the intercession of Jesus Christ (Heb. 7:25) and the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:27). That is why God cannot hear the prayer of the wicked because Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit are not interceding unto God the Father for the wicked. God cannot hear the prayer of anyone unless Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit already represent them before God. Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). There is arguably nothing more pleasing to God than praying to accept him, but yet that prayer cannot be pleasing to God unless that person already has faith. Faith is a fruit of the Spirit and comes in the new birth (Gal. 5:22). Therefore, once again, no prayer can be pleasing to God unless that person is already born again and already has faith to please God.
One must already be saved and must already have Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit residing in their heart before their prayer can be heard before God. Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord is already born again of the Holy Spirit. “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” (1 Cor. 12:3) Therefore, even if an unregenerate person wanted to say the words of the Sinner’s Prayer, their prayer cannot be heard by God unless they are already born again and already have faith. Once again, any prayer, belief, or confession is an “evidence” of eternal life, not the “cause” of eternal life. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24)
Inviting Jesus into Your Heart?
A significant aspect of the Sinner’s Prayer is the sinner “inviting” Jesus to come into your heart. For some reason, the majority of Christianity believes that God is the sovereign, omnipotent King of this universe in everything except the heart of the stubborn sinner. God has all power in heaven and in earth, but for the stubborn sinner who won’t pray unto him, his heart is restricted and off-limits to the King of kings and Lord of lords. Do you have to invite Jesus to do anything in this world? No, he does anything he pleases, when he pleases, and how he pleases because he is God! “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” (Dan. 4:35) The majority of Christianity thinks that the dead alien sinner can “stay the hand” of Jesus Christ from coming into his heart because he won’t pray a prayer. When is the last time a dead man stopped anyone from doing anything? A man dead in trespasses and sins cannot stop God from coming into his heart. That is foolishness.
Jesus Christ is everywhere present and nowhere absent. You cannot go anywhere to escape beyond the presence of God (Ps 139). Yet for some reason, the majority of Christianity think the only place Jesus can’t go in this world is the sinner’s heart unless you invite him or let him in first. God doesn’t need your “invitation” to go anywhere or do anything. God does as he pleases, when he pleases, and how he pleases. That’s the benefit of being fully sovereign and omnipotent (possessing all power). We are not saved by our own will or own works, but by the mercy of God. “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” (Rom. 9:16) Man’s will is not more powerful than God’s will, and man certainly does not have the ability to reject the sovereignty of God’s will.
This idea of inviting Jesus into your heart comes from an unscriptural application of Jesus’ command to the church at Laodicea. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20) Who is Jesus commanding to open the door to him? The church of the Laodiceans (Rev. 3:14), not the unregenerate; those he already loves who are being chastened and rebuked by their Father (Rev. 3:19). Therefore, this is not Jesus’ plea for the dead, alien sinner to open the door of his heart to invite Jesus in to save him. If that was the case, no one would ever be saved because a dead man couldn’t open the door anyway because he’s DEAD and can’t do ANYTHING! No, this is Jesus’ invitation for his already born-again children in the church to open the door of fellowship to their Savior. Jesus does not need an invitation from the dead alien sinner to open the door and come into his heart. No, Jesus SOVEREIGNLY KICKS DOWN the door of your heart by the power of the Holy Spirit in the new birth and makes you a new creature! You are dead in sins, so can a dead person invite anyone in? No, there would never be any invitation because you are spiritually dead in sins and cannot invite anyone in.
Did Saul of Tarsus invite Jesus into his heart when he was breathing out threatening and slaughter against the church? No, he was struck down, overpowered, blinded, and immediately conformed to confess Jesus Christ as his Lord (Acts 9:1-7). Jesus sovereignly came into the dead, alien heart of Saul and immediately conformed him to Christ’s image, making him willing in the day of God’s power (Ps. 110:3). Did John the Baptist invite Jesus into his heart when he was in his mother’s womb? No, he couldn’t invite Jesus into his heart because Jesus Christ wasn’t even born yet. John the Baptist couldn’t pray the Sinner’s Prayer, confess, or cognitively believe, but he still was born again in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15,44). Jesus came into his heart, not by invitation but by regeneration. Saul of Tarsus and John the Baptist are born again in the exact same way as every other child of God (John 3:8), which is by the sovereign immediate work of the Holy Spirit on the heart of the dead alien sinner. God does not need your permission, invitation, or acceptance to come into your heart. Our God is in the heavens, he has done whatsoever he hath pleased (Ps. 115:3); God does anything he pleases, not everything except coming into the sinner’s heart. Every child of God is born again in the same way, not by inviting Jesus into your heart by a prayer, but by the overpowering, quickening voice of God in the heart of his children.
The True, Biblical Sinner’s Prayer
Returning to our original question: is praying the “Sinner’s Prayer” for salvation a biblical command? The answer is actually “Yes”, but just not in the context it is presented in the majority of Christianity today. There is a salvation (deliverance) in a sinner praying this prayer unto God, but it is a salvation in their heart, not a salvation to heaven. Children of God that are burdened by their sin should pray unto Jesus, and there is a salvation, relief, and liberty from the conviction of sin in their heart when they pray unto Jesus. However, this prayer has nothing to do with a sinner gaining eternal life in heaven, but the true Sinner’s Prayer gives peace and assurance to the heart of the already born-again child of God. Actually, all except for inviting Jesus into your heart, Billy Graham’s Sinner’s Prayer is really a good prayer to pray. You should confess you are a sinner. You should ask for forgiveness. You should believe Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead. You should turn from your sins. You should trust and follow Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Those are all good things to pray. However, we must clearly delineate the “effect” of this prayer. Praying this prayer does not save someone to eternal life in heaven. Instead, this sincere humble prayer will give peace and assurance to the convicted and burdened heart of God’s child.
Furthermore, the child of God should “accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior”. However, accepting anything doesn’t make it true or make it a reality. You just choose to believe what is already true. For the child of God, Jesus Christ “is already” your personal Savior, and you do need to accept and confess that fact. It will give great assurance and peace to your soul when you accept and publicly confess your Lord. Jesus Christ is your personal Savior. Salvation is personal. Yes, God loved and died for the elect on the cross, but he died for YOU individually as well. “Yea, I have loved THEE with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn THEE.” (Jer. 31:3) God loved the elect before the world began, but he loved THEE individually as well. We don’t have time to consider all the examples in scripture, but do a Bible study and look at all the first-person pronouns used by Bible writers that describes God saving “me” or “us” individually. Jesus Christ is our personal Savior, and we should confess our belief in his personal salvation publicly before the church.
Now, let us consider what I would say is the “True Sinner’s Prayer” in scripture. While the word of God gives us no prayer to pray to go to heaven, it does give us a prayer for the sin-sick child of God to pray to receive salvation and peace in their heart. Jesus gave us the True Sinner’s Prayer in Luke 18:9-14:
“9) And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10) Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11) The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12) I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13) And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14) I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)
In this parable from Jesus, he contrasts the trust and hope of two men in their prayers. Notice, the Pharisee here “trusted in himself that he was righteous”. What was the basis of the Pharisee’s confidence in his righteousness? His confidence was in his works, in things he did: his supposed living more godly than others, his fasting, and his tithing. This Pharisee truly thought that he would go to heaven because of the quality of his good works; his works were his hope of being “declared righteous” (justified) before God. Unfortunately, many in Christianity believe their means of righteousness before God is their works as well, a prayer they prayed. If you ask someone, “Why are you going to heaven?”, many will answer, “Because I prayed the Sinner’s Prayer”. If your hope of righteousness before God is based on something you did (a work you performed, such as a prayer), then your confidence is in the same place as this Pharisee, in yourself, in your works. No, we have no righteous works that can make us just before God, including any prayer we pray. Any one prayer cannot overrule the rest of the filth of our sin because “we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). We don’t place our hope of righteousness in anything we do or any prayer we prayed. No, we only place our hope of righteousness in “God’s mercy”, the same place as this repentant publican placed his confidence of justification.
In contrast to the Pharisee who placed his hope of eternal life in his works (such as a prayer he prayed), the publican saw his works were filthy and unacceptable before a holy God. He was so overwhelmed and burdened by his sin that he would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but just smote upon his breast as he prayed. What was this repentant publican’s only hope of righteousness and only hope of heaven? The mercy of God upon an undeserving sinner. “God be merciful to me a sinner.” (Luke 18:13) He knew he was justly condemned before a holy God, worthy of hell and God’s judgment because of his sin. He confessed himself to be a sinner. Then, he placed his only hope of heaven in God’s mercy, in God not giving him what he knew he did justly deserve. He did not place his hope of righteousness in his works, but he only placed his hope of righteousness in the mercy of God. This is the True Sinner’s Prayer for the sin-sick child of God. He confessed he was a sinner, and he threw himself at the feet of God begging for his mercy. He knew God’s mercy was his only hope of heaven, not a work he performed or a prayer he prayed. We need to pray this same prayer as well. Not a long, flowing, ornate prayer. No, just a cry from the soul of the sinner, begging for God’s mercy upon us.
Now, notice the effect of this prayer. Was this when this publican was saved to heaven? Did he begin this Sinner’s Prayer going to hell and now he was going to heaven? No, the conviction of sin for this publican in not lifting up his eyes to heaven and smiting upon his breast shows this was already a born-again child of God who was “pricked in the heart” over his sin (just like in Acts 2:37). This publican was not “declared righteous” (justified) before God in heaven when he prayed this prayer. No, sinners are only justified before God by grace (Rom. 3:24) and by the blood of Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:9). This publican was not justified in heaven; he was justified in his own heart. “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other.” (Luke 18:14) This publican who only trusted in God’s mercy for salvation went down “to his house” FEELING JUSTIFIED. There is a big difference between being declared righteous before God by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, and the child of God knowing and accepting that fact in their life. This publican’s belief in God’s mercy did not make him righteous before God, but now he “felt justified in his heart”. He was now EXPERIENCING SALVATION in his heart. Justification had gone from being a legal fact in heaven to now being an experienced reality in this publican’s soul. Therefore, he went down to his house feeling happy! Feeling at peace with God by his faith in God’s mercy, not in his works.
This is the proper effect of praying the True Sinner’s Prayer. We are not haughty because of a prayer we prayed. “I know I’m going to heaven because I prayed the Sinner’s Prayer”. No, if we place our hope of heaven in any work we perform, it will eventually give us doubts and burdens and fears. Satan will make you doubt if you did the work properly; did you really mean that prayer? were you really sincere, or just going along with the crowd? Confidence in a works salvation of your prayer will inevitably only cause fear and doubt in the heart of the child of God. Instead, our confidence in eternal life is only in the mercy of God. When we confess that fact; when we confess that we are wretched, undone sinners before a holy God, and the unmerited favor and shed blood of Jesus Christ is our only hope of salvation, just like that repentant publican we can go home to our house “feeling justified” and “feeling saved”. Instead of feeling condemned because we place confidence in our works and prayers, we go home feeling the powerful effects of our salvation with peace, assurance, and hope in our heart.
Only a born-again child of God feels to be a sinner and is “pricked in their heart” over their sin. The wicked, unregenerate have “no changes” and do not fear God (Ps. 55:19). The only person truly convicted over their sin is a born-again child of God. Therefore, if anyone is ever convicted enough over their sin to beg for God’s mercy like the publican, that means they ARE ALREADY SAVED to heaven. If someone prays the Sinner’s Prayer in sincerity, they were not hell-bound and end up heaven-bound at Amen. No, they were already heaven-bound before they prayed by the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. Therefore, if you feel burdened to pray the Sinner’s Prayer, you are not in danger of hell and need to get right with the Lord to go to heaven. No, you are already a born-again child of God, and you just need to place your faith and hope in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life, not in a prayer you prayed. Therefore, child of God, you need to pray the Sinner’s Prayer: “God be merciful to me a sinner!” It will not save you to heaven. You were predestinated to heaven before the world began by God the Father. Your eternal home in heaven has been secure from before your life began and from before the world even began. However, if you are pricked in your heart, and burdened over your sin, confess your sin, pray for God’s mercy, and you will GET SAVED and GO HOME FEELING JUSTIFIED in your heart by the power of God unto salvation!