Here's an email I received recently:
I said the prayer to be saved when I was ten years old. I don't remember much about it—just that my mom was upset that the church I was attending with my friend would baptize a child (me) who was not really sure what was going on. Many years later, in another church service, I asked Jesus to come into my heart again. The pastor announced to the church that I was rededicating my life. Yet looking back, I feel that God was with me all along.
Is it possible that I was truly saved when I was age ten, even though I was unaware of its great importance? I know that God knows my heart and I have a great passion for my relationship with Jesus. Should I be concerned about my testimony?
I think the whole idea of trying to determine an exact time when someone is "saved" is somewhat manipulative. Fixing an exact time has more to do with what we are thinking and doing than what God is doing.
Consider—when people talk about when they were "saved" they are often recounting when they determined, in some way, perhaps in some emotional context, to serve God. While there's nothing wrong with remembering the exact time when we gave God our commitment, that memory is, at the end of the day, more about us than it is about God.
Is the time we decided to make a commitment to God, then, the exact time when we were "saved"? Well, no it isn't, because the Bible clearly tells us that repentance is a gift God gives to us. The Bible tells us that we cannot respond to God unless and until we become aware that he loves us first. So, any moment in time that we recall, any religious place where we happened to be or any religious thing we were doing or performing, is not the moment of our salvation.