“Meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains.”
“that God would open to us a door for the word”
Paul’s specific request for prayer revolved around God opening the door of opportunity for the gospel (cf. 1 Cor. 16:9; 2 Cor. 2:12). Pray that God would afford an opportunity to introduce the gospel to new people.
Paul sat in jail for preaching the gospel while writing the epistle to the Colossians. Now he asks his friends to pray for him that he would continue doing what put him in prison! Sitting in a Roman jail tends to discourage a person! Paul asked for prayer that he would not become disheartened in presenting the gospel. You would think that Paul would pray that God would spring him from prison.
God must open the opportunities to preach the gospel. We cannot force the door. God must open the door. If we force the door, that is the energy of the flesh. When the Lord opens the door, He will give us what we need to go through the door.
God closes some doors. There is no sense in knocking on that door. All entries are not open all the time. The missionary expeditions of the book of Acts clearly show how God opens the doors of opportunity. Revelation 3:7,8 demonstrates how God both opens and shuts doors of opportunity.
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: 8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.”
We see both sides of the truth here. There are times when God shuts a gospel door. If so, we need to accept that God is finished with that ministry (for at least now). God raises up men and movements for a given time. He opens the door wide; He supplies money and personnel. When He finishes, He closes the door. God does not design all movements and work to perpetuate permanently. When they serve their purposes, then He closes the door.
The best opportunity for ministry is when we pray that God would open the door to that ministry.
God opens the door. When He does this, we need to be sensitive to His will. This is divine guidance. This opening is the category for which Paul prayed at Colossae. He asked them to pray that God would open the door of opportunity to preach the gospel. We need to pray that God will open doors in our arena.
1 Corinthians 16: 9: “For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”
2 Corinthians 2:12: “Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord.”