Thursday, November 20, 2014
The key to effective evangelism
The original HTB 24-7 prayer hut in November 2012 just before it opened officially. Today, considerably extended, prayer is made day and night. HTB attributes success in attracting people to Alpha to a culture of taking prayer seriously.
HOW do we embrace this idea of Grander Vision living? And what would be a key passage in Scripture to wrap your heart and mind around as you seek to move out in it?
Here’s a passage that comes near the close of Paul’s letter to Christians at Colossae from his prison cell.
The very end of the letter we have is personal greetings and personal matters – what we might put in a PS. But the end of the substantive content comes early in chapter 4. This is effectively the summing up of what he has to say to the church in his letter, minus the personal bits – ‘famous last words’ if you want to put it like that.
This is what he said – Col. 4:2-6:
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
He wants these believers in Colossae to stay rooted in Christ, to continue in their faith, avoid deception and let peace rule their loves. And he sums up his thoughts by saying: “Devote yourselves to prayer.”
What does that mean? Study it as much as you like, but it means what it says. Devote. Yourselves. To Prayer. Pray, and pray a lot – on your own, with people, on your way in and your way out, privately, in your car, morning, noon, night, mealtimes, when you’re up, when you’re down, when you’re healthy and when you’re not, when you feel like it and especially when you don’t.
The more we pray, the more we think to pray – this is how Christian philosopher Dallas Willard describes a kind of gaining momentum which helps to make sense of Paul’s instruction to the Thessalonians to pray continually (1 Thess. 5:16).
In these few verses, Paul gives away the secret to effective evangelism. If you hope to lead people to Christ, you have to be devoted to prayer. Prayer and effective evangelism are bound up in each other.
We could say that he summarised his message to the Colossians by telling them: “Don’t even think about doing the work of evangelism until you’re all prayed up!”