I am preparing for Sunday’s sermon from Colossians 4:2-6 and came across these words from John Woodhouse that were too good not to share. There is a powerful link between prayer and proclamation. Consider his thoughts on Colossians 4:3, “…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 – that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.”
He asked them to pray that God may open to us a door for the word. Not that God would open the door of his imprisonment. That was relatively unimportant. Whether he remained in bondage or not, pray that God will open a door for the word.
This word was advancing through servants of the gospel like Paul. Obviously the work this word does is not something we humans ourselves can accomplish. God must open doors for this word if it is going to achieve its purpose: doors of opportunity for the word to be proclaimed and the doors of human hearts that the word might be received. This is a reminder of how hard the work of proclaiming Christ is. In our enthusiasm we sometimes give the impression that if only we could get our strategy right, if only we learn to be relevant, if only we use our technology to the full, if only we learn the art of contextualization, of entrepreneurship – then our preaching will have an impact. Such enthusiasm is heading for disillusionment. The doors to this word are tightly shut and bolted! the darkness is thick. The alienation is extreme. The hostility is intense. This word will only do its work if God opens a door. So pray that he will.
Colossians and Philemon by John Woodhouse (Christian Focus Publications, 246-47)