the new sinners prayer? (puritan evangelism 101: part1)

Posted: July 20, 2009 by Daniel in Uncategorized

This prayer for ‘seekers’ by Dr. John Gerstner is intended for polemical purposes and to promote discussion and thought, not a practical guide for prayer for the non-Christian. I agree that before God gave me new life I was a God hater. I even can remember saying things like “I hate God,” “He sux” and other such wickedness to those who shared the gospel with me. I was actually grappling to understand what they were saying and I was intrigued, but also showing my natural ‘enemy of God through wicked works‘ status. Because I now recognise this, Gerstner’s prayer resonates so clearly with what I remember of my horrible heart:

Dear God, 
whom I hate with all my being precisely because you hate and threaten me with hell, I hate this punishment perhaps even more than I hate you. Or, maybe I should say that I love my comfort even more than I hate you. For that reason I am asking a favor of you. I want you to make me love you, whom I hate even when I ask this and even more because I have to ask this. I am being frank with you because I know it is no use to be otherwise. You know even better than I how much I hate you and that I love only myself. It is no use for me to pretend to be sincere. I most certainly do not love you and do not want to love you. I hate the thought of loving you but that is what I’m asking because I love myself. If you can answer this ‘prayer’ I guess the gift of gratitude will come with it and then I will be able to do what I would not think of doing now—thank you for making me love you whom I hate. 
Amen.

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