A door is a frequent biblical image used to communicate spiritual truth. For example, Jesus said, “Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and have dinner with him, and he with me”, (Revelations 3:20)Paul asked his friends in Colossae to pray for him to have more opportunities to share the gospel. He used the door motif when he wrote, “At the same time, pray also for us that God may open a door to us for the message. To speak the mystery of the Messiah” (Colossians 4:3). There are two aspects to this prayer request. First, Paul asked his friends to pray he would have more witnessing opportunities. Second, he asked for prayer to keep his witness focused on Jesus.
Review these words from the bible: “God may open a door to us for the message, to speak the mystery of the Messiah.” (Colossians 4:3) Compose a prayer based on this verse: With whom can you share the gospel?
When a door is open for an arriving guest, it initiates new opportunities to enjoy friends. When a door is opened for a departing family member, he or she leaves for new responsibilities. When Paul asked the Colossians to pray “that God may open a door to us for the message,” he was asking them to pray for two things-first, for additional witnessing opportunities. In other words, continuing the door metaphor. Paul asked for prayer to recognize when opportunity to share the gospel was knocking.
Based on this biblical prayer request, it’s appropriate to ask God to create witnessing opportunities for you. You should also pray for spiritual alertness to recognize those opportunities when they come. Sometimes, we become so preoccupied we can’t hear the tapping-or pounding-of a person who is ready to hear the gospel.
What do these open doors look like? How can you know that someone might be open to hearing about Jesus? The following phrases help me: people die, health fails, relationship struggles, and things break. When any of these unfortunate events happen (and they happen to everyone at one time or another), people are often open to hearing the gospel. These life events become doors of opportunity for talking about Jesus.
By simple paying attention as life happens to people and stepping in with the gospel when one of these four circumstances occurs, sharing Jesus becomes a natural part of many conversations.
Keeping the focus on Jesus is the second part of Paul’s Prayer request. He asked his friends to pray he would “speak the mystery of the Messiah.” In other words, keep the focus on Jesus. You should pray you will keep Jesus-His person and work-foremost in your witness to others. Too often, our encounters with lost people detour from Jesus downside roads and back alleys. Getting sidetracked by focusing on a person’s sinful behavior, external issues not germane to the gospel, or even positive subjects like church programs can short-circuit your witness. Keep the focus on Jesus. Focus on praying for spiritual self-discipline to avoid chasing rabbits like secular politics, denominational differences, or negative aspects of other religious groups. Pray you will keep Jesus at the forefront of your witness. When opportunity knocks, open the door and invite the person to meet Jesus-not every other person, problem, or perspective in the room.
How do binoculars or a microscope help you focus on a certain item? What does the focusing process teach you about how to keep your focus on Jesus?
What tips can you offer for recognizing the opportunities God provides, rather than trying to force an opportunity of your own creation?