17 of 19 verses in Psalm 51 are a long list of magic words about how to be saved. They are the basis of many a salvation prayer offered up in various ways by pastors as they encourage sinners to enter into the kingdom of God. Some have even gone so far as to admit there are no magic words but give some form of Psalm 51 briefly. It is a good read. What did Jesus say?
Luke 18:13-14 English Standard Version (ESV) But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
That is a very short and to the point sinners prayer. No elaborating on the things upon which salvation is based. No need to acknowledge the presence and deity of Christ, no comment about His death on the cross because at this point Christ had not died. So what is required?
My words were perhaps even simpler than the tax collector. “I don’t want to be like this.”
God knew my heart, knew my fear, knew my problem and answered me instantly. I was changed the very moment I raised my hand at the altar call. I knew I was changed but I did not know how. I knew I had done nothing different. God changed me, I did not change myself.
Did every aspect of my character change? No. There was a drastic change that allowed me to believe God did something I could not do for myself. The particulars are not as important as the acknowledgement. Your needs may be different than mine and it is important that your salvation given of God be known to you.
That was only the first step of many in my conformance.