“Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” Colossians 4:3, 4
Paul is writing this epistle to the church at Colosse, from his place in prison, “I am also in bonds.” In our text, he encourages the Christians there to be faithful in their praying, and he specifically requests prayer for himself. This is perhaps one of the most underrated and neglected privileges and responsibilities that we have been given: the act of prayer. Paul knew the value of prayer. He had seen God answer his prayers, and he was sincerely dependent on the prayers of God’s people.
When we hear prayer requests, how seriously do we take them? We all have heard missionaries speak of how much they are counting on the prayers of faithful intercessors. These are not just meaningless cliches. God hears and answers prayer. This is one of the great lessons of life. God, who can do anything He chooses, has made certain things that are His will, subject to our faith-filled prayers. One has to wonder how much of God’s will is being postponed or hindered because we have neglected our prayer closets.
We see in these verses that Paul was specific in his request. He asked that prayer might be offered, “that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ,” and that “I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” He knew there were doors of opportunity that only God could open, and Paul knew he needed God’s help that he might always speak the words that needed to be preached. Considering the request for an open door, we might infer that he wanted God to open the door for him to be released from prison. There were many people outside the prison that the missionary wanted to reach. We can also be certain that even in the prison, Paul wanted God to open doors of opportunity for ministry. We need to be faithful ministers of Christ wherever we are.
May we daily look for and pray for doors of opportunity to be opened for ourselves, as well as for those we know who are committed to the Gospel ministry. We can also relate to Paul’s other request that he would speak what needed to be said. When God opens the doors, we need to be ready to give out the Gospel. If Paul needed prayer for his words and his opportunities, we certainly need the same.