“Dear God, today I turn away from all of my sins (name them). This day I put my
trust in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. He is the only way for me to be
saved. He is ‘The way, the truth, and the life.’ Please forgive me, change my
heart, and grant me Your gift of everlasting life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
It is an example of a prayer for redemption. The reason I put it here is because I can't even remember what I said in my prayer, or whether I repented of everything, accepted Christ as saviour, believed in the cross and resurrection, or whether I acknowledged everything I was suppose to. I've even repeated the prayer, especially after a sinful act, thinking I didn't get it right the first time or that sin indicated an error etc. However I don't do this anymore. This has been been bugging me. Particularly as I kept up a pretty sinful life in the early months. I think because of this I've always had these nagging doubts and fears that I wasn't serious when I became a Christian or hadn't prayed properly. Or should I be looking at positive evidence, rather than a lack thereof. For example, I've really cleaned up my life in the last few months, have new plans and goals, have received things I've prayed, am studying hard, feeling better all round, and understanding more etc etc. I just want to make sure I'm not deluding myself or slowly convincing myself with my mind, rather than it being real. When I first started reading scripture I was terrified every time hell was discussed. But as time went on this changed.
Also I'm wondering how God called me. I didn't respond to a pastor's gospel message at a church meeting or something. So how did it happen? Something from childhood? Family prayers? I guess I always knew God was real I just chose not to acknowledge him for years. I even spoke outwardly against God, Jesus, his people, the bible and everything else repeatedly. So what was I doing? Just seeing how much sin I could handle and then when I'd had enough turn to the Lord? Is there something wrong in that? I think there is but is that what I was doing? So you can see the issues I'm facing and how they are all connected somewhat. As this stuff is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing in life I'd like to be sure I haven't goofed it. perhaps it's my nature to be fearful I don't know. I'm just wondering if I can ever be sure or if I need to just let go of doubts and fears somehow.
You are complicating things. This is particularly common with 'intelligent' people. What words one utters are really irrelevant, as long as the attitude is right. Indeed, no words are even necessary. The thief on the cross never uttered a formal, pre-composed, Baptist or Vatican approved prayer. It was what was in his heart that validated him in Christ's eyes. The bible says, if anyone confesses or states that they believe Jesus is God, and if they believe he rose from the dead, THEY ARE SAVED! No special prayers here. The thief said "remember me". No special prayer there. All a matter of heart. Words are just sometimes a help to convey the thoughts of our heart and mind.
Why are some saved? Why did God say he knew us from when were in our mother's womb, or even before the foundation of the world? Because time has no meaning to Him. Our beginning and our end is laid out in front of Him as one picture, not unfolding as we see it. Why were you saved. Simple, because you believed in Him. Why did you believe in Him? Who knows. Most probably it was a result of Christian family and friends praying to God that He would reveal himself to you and that you would humble yourself enough to accept Him. Certainly nothing you can take credit for. Simple gratitude is enough. Now start praying for others just as others prayed for you.
QUESTION FROM A NEW CHRISTIAN
I'm having a bit of trouble with a Christian issue that's been troubling me for a while. Forgive me if any of the following sounds naive but I am still young to spiritual matters. The issue is this. At various times throughout each day I have these recurring thoughts telling me in strong language to 'forget the bible', 'forget God' and 'forget Christ'. Now as you can imagine I find this troubling. At first I thought it was just some neurotic compulsive kind of thinking and I ignored it and continued to study and talk to God. But its just getting stronger and more frequent and driving me nuts. Have you any idea what this is? Is it me or what's going on. Anyway I would value any input you have on this matter. I must highlight the fact that this is really concerning me considering not long ago I was feeling at peace.
A couple of things come to mind.
Firstly, realise that your mind is in fact a battle field. As Paul said, his spirit wanted to do good, but his flesh wanted to do bad. The flesh/mind is the devil's playground so to speak. Most wrong actions originate in the mind first. Example, a bloke looks at a nice woman, begins to imagine you know what, then he either starts to chat her up or he indulges in some other act that is wrong, or cheats on his wife or whatever, but it all started in his mind. That's why we have to constantly be on guard for thoughts that we know are wrong and may lead to wrong actions, and dismiss them there before they can lead to an act that will be damaging.
In summary, you wouldn't be having these thoughts if you weren't a Christian. What you now need to begin to learn is how to defeat the enemy. The bible says resist Satan and he will flee. How do you resist. Simple, tell him to take his silly thoughts and take off, that you are a blood bought child of God and that he, Satan, is destined for an eternity of suffering. He doesn't like hearing that and will soon leave. Quote bible verses in your mind and recall truths that you have read in the Bible and the negative thoughts will soon go away. Christ defeated Satan when Satan tempted Him, simply by quoting the word of God. Satan had no answer to that, and still doesn't.
Secondly, you may simply be spiritually a little tired, trying to learn too much too quick or trying too hard to please God where as you have already pleased him simply by accepting him. You may just need a breather. Go down the beach and take a long walk. Feel the breeze in your face and just relax in the knowledge that you are saved, that the devil is defeated and that you are alive to achieve things for yourself and for God.
Rest easy. All is well. Satan is defeated. Jesus is returning soon and you're on the winning side.
Christianity is all a change of heart thing. That's why those that often say they are Christians, like most USA Presidents and Australian Prime Ministers, are in fact, NOT Christians. And that's why many who we would never guess as being Christians at first glance, actually are. When it comes down to it, words mean little.
It's usually only in the long term, that words and actions eventually give proof of what a person is truly like because they REFLECT what's in that person's heart ... Keygar