Inside Out Christians Make Inside Out Churches

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 toward 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. Colossians 4:2-6

Devote yourselves to prayer. Already I’m in trouble. We can be devoted to a lot of things, and make a fairly good effort at other things. My prayer life is richer than it once was, and yet I know I’m far from being devoted to prayer. There are some things I am devoted to that take a big priority in my life. Prayer, I am liking more and more, but … devoted? As I journey through the Spiritual Disciplines, I am finding that prayer is setting the tone for everything. A person devoted to prayer becomes more of what God calls him to be. A church full of people devoted to prayer will bring about massive regime change from self to Lord. Right after Paul tells us to devote ourselves to prayer…to be watchful and thankful, he begins to turn us inside out.

Prayer can seem selfish. After all, we put a lot of stock into how we pray, how often we pray, what type of prayers we pray. We can begin to think that if our prayers aren’t answered as we wish that we just didn’t say the words in the right order or with enough faith. And the content of our prayers? What we want for us, what we want for others, what we want for the world. And if we are conscious of it, we’ll add a ‘thy will be done’ on the end. Meaning what we say, I’m sure, but it was a second thought.

But prayer leads us outward because it leads us Godward. Whenever we grow toward God we grow toward the lost. “...Pray…that God may open a door for our message…” We cannot ascend in godliness without also ascending in awareness of those around us who need Jesus – and our ardent desire to see them saved. “Pray that I may proclaim it clearly…” The Spirit-filled Apostle Paul asking for prayer like this? His heart is evident. Whatever opportunity is before him, he would like to clearly tell them about Jesus. It is never far from his mind.

Prayer changes the way we view people, and also the way we talk to them. Watch for opportunities to speak grace into the lives of sinners. What’s that coming out of your mouth? Profanity? Anger? Irritation? Self-righteousness? Judgmentalism? Religion? Get some grace on your lips! How? By devoting yourself to prayer. You cannot pray without realizing that you are talking to someone who should have squashed you like a bothersome gnat – and could have – but chose instead to love you. Grace. Don’t just enjoy it, turn it outward.

Prayer will turn us inside out because…

*It shifts focus from ourselves to our God.

*It bends our hearts toward His Will, above our own.

*It begins to adopt the ways and thoughts of God.

*It drives us to look for ways to share the Good News with those who need it.

*It washes our mouth out with gospel soap and gives us words of grace to bless and encourage.

God’s grace, through prayer, turns us inside out. Our dreams, desires, wants, and hopes all belong to God.

Are you devoted to prayer? Watchful? Thankful? Prayer will turn you inside out. A church full of inside out people will be an inside out church. Don’t you think it’s time?

Thanks for reading,

john

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