As I sit at my desk thinking and praying about all the opportunities we have to train indigenous people God’s Plan for His Church, there are several questions that often come to mind. Which opportunities are ones God is bringing to us and which ones are not ‘His open door’? Paul faced the same problem as we have noted before from Acts 16:6-10. It should not surprise us that he asked churches to pray for him in this regard.
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison--” (Colossians 4:2–3).
While Paul wanted the saints to be praying people as a habit, he asked them to include him in their prayers. He had a specific reason for making this request; “that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ”. What did he mean by an “open…door”? I can guarantee that he was not seeking events that would soon be forgotten by those who attended or that he become more popular! He wanted encounters when the Word of God and the mystery of Christ would effectively penetrate hearts and the Spirit would produce transformation so the gospel would expand. This is what Paul also calls “a wide door for effective work” (1 Corinthians 16:9).
We sincerely need prayer partners who will see with us this need and commit themselves to “continual steadfast prayer…for us”. We are finding that many influences from the “West” have turned opportunities into ineffective events. Your prayers for discernment will help us avoid wasting our time and God’s resources in places where God is not at work.
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