A very effective way of giving an invitation at the end of an evangelistic message is to encourage unbelievers to trust Christ in their seats right then. I’ve done this for years and have seen many effective, lasting results. Keep in mind the following suggestions:
Remind the audience that saying a prayer doesn’t save. Only trusting Christ saves. People can do so right there in their seats. It’s helpful to remind them, though, that saying a prayer does not save them. Prayer is only the means of telling God what they are doing.
Give the audience time to pray themselves. If you encourage your people to trust Christ in their seats, you can lead them in prayer. It’s important, though, to give them time to pray along with you. For example, I say the following to the audience:
“In a moment, I am going to say a prayer—the kind of prayer you can use if right now you want to tell God that you are trusting Christ. Now saying the prayer does not save. It is trusting Christ that saves. Prayer is only how you tell God what you’re doing. But right now, if you want to trust Christ, this is how you can tell God that in the quietness of your heart and the privacy of your seat. ‘Dear God, I come you now and I admit I’m a sinner.’ Go ahead tell God that—‘I admit I’m a sinner.’”
At this point I stop and give them time to do just that. I even whisper that phrase to myself to know how long it takes.
“‘Nothing I am and nothing I do will get me to heaven.’ Go ahead and tell God that—‘nothing I am and nothing I do will get me to heaven.’”
Once again I pause to give them time to tell God that.
“‘But I now understand that Jesus Christ died for me.’ Go ahead and tell God that—‘I now understand Jesus Christ died for me.’”
“‘He took my punishment and rose again the third day.’ Go ahead and tell God that.”
“‘Right now, I place my trust in Christ alone to save me.’ Tell God that.”
“‘I trust you as my personal Savior.’”
“‘Thank you for the free gift of eternal life I just received.’”
I pause again.
I give them time between each phrase to tell God in prayer what I am encouraging them to tell God. So many times, preachers explain that they can trust Christ in their seats and even lead them in prayer as they do so. The problem, though, is that they pray too fast without any pauses. Ones in the audience who want to come to Christ cannot verbalize to God what they are encouraged to verbalize.
When I’ve offered invitations in this way, people leave knowing they have trusted Christ and having verbalized it to God, they can be an encouragement in now verbalizing it to others.