Posted on by Heidi Brunsting

Written by Tim Skrivan, Executive Vice President , YFC/USA

August 18, 1969 at Island Lake Bible Camp in Silverdale, Washington, I said "yes" to Jesus. But that is not really the case; I was led in "the" sinner's prayer...

1969 Sinner's Prayer:
"Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your Son, Jesus Christ, died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen."

Fast forward to YFC camp a few years ago where I heard the speaker ask the kids to go out to solo time and shout out "yes" to following Jesus. As an old dog learning a new trick, I immediately said to myself, "Is that enough? There has to be more to the commitment... It can't be enough... but what is missing?"

2015 Sinner's Prayer:

I have come to embrace, no, to love, the simplicity of "yes." I am looking at my '69 Sinners Prayer as transactional. It has a few "heart" words, but mostly it is a transaction to move Jesus into our heart. That transaction included signing a "decision card."  Having prayed that prayer in 1969, it now feels more like a prenuptial agreement... a checklist that covers the bases.

"Yes" is the heart word that women say when their beloved proposes. They are saying "yes" to their lives being transformed. They are saying "yes" to comingling their possessions; "yes" to raising kids together; "yes" to a life that is transformed from living your own life to living a shared experience with another. 

The 1969 Sinner's Prayer made sense to the church that was influenced by the modernist culture of the day. Like our surrounding culture, we wanted to measure it, contain it, and replicate it. We wanted, like Peter, to build three tents every time we had a good experience and we wanted to have a checklist for grading the work of the Holy Spirit. 

"Yes" is the simple word of someone who is making a profound decision... someone who is changing direction; someone who is accepting the truth of another as his or her own. "Yes" is the word that describes the behavior of Peter when asked to leave his nets, "...immediately, they left their nets and followed him." Not a transaction, no paperwork, no clarifying theology, just a simple "yes" as demonstrated by a profound transformation. 

"For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him. That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for His glory." 2 Corinthians 1:20

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