Perhaps by now you feel reasonably comfortable about witnessing using the Law to bring the knowledge of sin. You know how to present the cross and the necessity of repentance toward God and faith in Jesus—but then what? Is it valid to “close the sale” (as modern evangelism often puts it)? Should you suddenly revert back to the old, “Would you like me to lead you in a sinner’s prayer right now?” Or should we just leave the person in the hands of a faithful Creator?
This understanding comes by the Law (Romans 7:7) in the hand of the Spirit, who will “convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8)
This is why we must be careful to allow the Holy Spirit to do His work and not rush in where angels fear to tread. Praying a sinner’s prayer with someone who isn’t genuinely repentant may leave you with a stillborn on your hands. Therefore, rather than lead him in a prayer of repentance, it is wise to encourage him to pray himself.
If a person is genuinely repentant (he has sorrow of heart and his mouth is stopped from self-justification), he should pray himself; his words aren’t as important as the presence of “godly sorrow.”
The sinner should be told to repent—to confess and forsake his sins. He could do this as a whispered prayer, then you could pray for him. Tell him, “Quietly confess your sins to God, asking Him to forgive you, then put your trust in Jesus in the same way you would put on a parachute to save you. You wouldn’t just believe in it; you would put it on—entrusting your life to it. After you have done that, I will pray for you and give you some literature to help you.” If he’s not sure what to say, perhaps David’s prayer of repentance (Psalm 51) could be used as a model, but his own words are more desirable.
Before you leave this place, breathe an earnest prayer to God, saying, “God, be merciful to me a sinner. Lord, I need to be saved. Save me. I call upon Thy name...Lord, I am guilty, I deserve Thy wrath. Lord, I cannot save myself. Lord, I would have a new heart and a right spirit, but what can I do? Lord, I can do nothing, come and work in me to do of Thy good pleasure
Thou alone hast power, I know To save a wretch like me; To whom, or whither should I go If I should run from Thee?
But I now do from my very soul call upon Thy name. Trembling, yet believing, I cast myself wholly upon Thee, O Lord. I trust the blood and righteousness of Thy dear Son...Lord, save me tonight, for Jesus’ sake.”