If you have been a Christian for some time, you most likely know someone who has shut themselves off to hearing the good news about Jesus. It may be that in the beginning they listened, then one day it was as if the shutters slammed down and stayed there. What do you do in this circumstance? For me, there has been one prayer which has been more effective than any other in this situation. Today, I want to share that prayer with you.
I had been working in crisis intervention at Beachy Head for a number of years and we were helping many people. However, because a negotiation is primarily focused around the person in need I was finding it difficult to find an opportunity to share Jesus with them. This had been bothering me for some time as the greatest help to people was coming through a direct encounter with God. As I prayed about this, I was led to a verse in one of Paul’s epistles:
“Meanwhile praying for us, that God would open a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains” (Colossians 4:3)
From this verse, the Holy Spirit began to speak to me. He asked me to begin to pray for an open door with every needful person I spoke to. So I began to pray as He had led me and immediately I began to see opportunities to share Jesus.
My favourite example happened one grey evening shift. We were on patrol and pulled our vehicle in to one of the lay-bys to scan the cliff top. As we did, a man approached us, knocked on the window and said, “Can I talk to you? I’m feeling suicidal”. Someone knocking on the window for help was very unusual. In the 1000’s of people we had helped over the years, I knew of only a few cases when someone approached us in the vehicle out of the blue.
We helped him into the vehicle and offered to take him to our hut for a cup of tea. The man gratefully accepted, but as he sat in the car he said to me, “I’ll talk with you guys but none of that religious nonsense”. I laughed and replied, “That’s fine. We’ll only talk about what you want to talk about”. He must’ve said the same thing a dozen times on the way to the hut and each time I replied in the same manner.
It was then that God asked me to pray for an open door. I was extremely tired, and when I am tired most of my passion for being a ‘committed and loving servant of God’ evaporates, so the conversation with God in my head went something like this: “Ross, I want you to pray for an open door”-“Oh do I have to”—”Ross, pray for a open door”— “Really? I just want to listen to this guy and then go home”—”Pray for an open door.” Safe to say, God won, and I reluctantly prayed, “Father can You give me an open door to share the good news with this guy?”
I pulled into the car park and reversed on to the drive of the hut. As we got out, the man again said, “I’ll talk with you guys, but none of that religious nonsense.”, I smiled, replied, and prayed in the same way. We walked in to the hut, sat down and then I said to the man, “What would you like to talk about?” He replied, “You believe in Jesus, why?”
God had responded to that simple prayer. He had encouraged that man to seek him despite his original prejudice. We went on to have a conversation which radically impacted that man’s life.
Related post: Does God sometimes call us to do what we cannot do?
When you pray for an open door, I believe that God gives a glimpse of who He is to people. They may not even be consciously aware, but that glimpse of a loving God is nothing like the hard nosed, dry, and dusty religion of contradictions many of us have experienced. Like a light in the darkness, or a warm fire in a cold winter, He draws us to himself.
Not everyone responds, but even the most icy exteriors thaw a little. This is why this simple prayer: “I pray for an open door to share the good news,” has been the most effective way to get permission to share the gospel that I know.
I know if you pray this simple yet powerful prayer, you too, will find opportunities to share Jesus.
Have you seen God answer your prayer? Please leave a comment below.
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