It’s not uncommon to hear the phrase “open doors” and “close doors” in a congregation of believers. It is usually in regard to a certain issue or petition that a person has or is placing before the Lord, seeking His will on. In fact, non-believers even use the phrase “Where one door closes, a window is opened”, as it feels like life (or in truth, God) carefully guides us down the paths He has destined for us by closing off one route and opening another. When we are desiring confirmation on an issue we’re not sure of, we send up a prayer that sounds something like this:
“Dear Lord, I feel like maybe I might like to go on a missions trip to Africa; if this is Your will, please open the door to this opportunity” and then sit back and wait on the Lord to work.
But can I suggest to you that this process is ineffective and misconstrued? That the Lord’s opening or doors doesn’t really have anything to do with us at all? That it is spiritual laziness?
If the above prayer means, for instance, that the pray-er needs God to “open the door” to financial provision, it doesn’t mean they get to sit back and wait for two thousand dollars to drop out of the sky and into their bank account. Quite the contrary; it means they work over time, sell things they don’t need or use – or simply feel they can give up for a better cause – it means they go before their church and ask for sponsors and donations, or that they host bake sales and car washes. And that God would use that work to successfully lead them to their destination. Now to be certain, God DOES do all the work at times, but I have found it’s usually when He is closing doors.
When we are asking God to open doors, it does not mean we can let God do all the work, that He will allow us to glide effortlessly down the path and through widely swung doors that have been prepared for our entry. It is not enough to stand outside the door and wait for it to magically open to us; many times, indeed most, we will have to knock, beat, or kick some doors to get them to open. Remember, doors open from the inside, and THIS is the truth behind a prayer for an open door.
What we’re supposed to be asking, what we should be asking, is that God would open the door from the inside. That whoever’s door we knock on in pursuit of spreading the Word of Christ would be opened to us. That the person or people who are standing before us would truly hear, that they would open the door of their heart to Christ. That our witness would not fall in vain.
Sometimes He will not allow the doors to open, but that doesn’t mean we are not meant to try. Sometimes God knows that this path is not meant for us, but it is our obedience He is looking for. He wants to see if we will listen to His still small voice, if we will have the faith to put ourselves out of our comfort zone. With God, sometimes the end is not the goal, but the means themselves.
If there is something you’re struggling with, something you think God might be wanting you to do, ask for Him to open that door and then step out in obedience and faith, because no matter if you’re received or not, obedience is always the heart of the matter anyway.