God Opens Doors for Effective Ministry

Last weekend I was sharing at a missions conference in Kansas about the work of One Challenge. I pointed out that in 2014, OC workers were active in 102 countries –  the highest number of countries in the history of the organization. Since I’ve started writing this blog series about the ways that God is at work in the world, it occurred to me to look at the broadening of OC’s ministry from the God-at-work perspective.

New Testament Teaching

Turning to the New Testament, we find five passages that state God opens doors for effective ministry. The majority of these are about Paul’s ministry.

When they had arrived and gathered the church together, they began to report all things that God had done with them and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. Acts 14:27

But I will remain in Ephesus until Pentecost; for a wide door for effective {service} has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. 1 Corinthians 16:8-9

Now when I came to Troas for the gospel of Christ and when a door was opened for me in the Lord. 2 Corinthians 2:12

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned. Colossians 4:2,3

In Revelation we have the words of Jesus Himself.

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:  He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this: ‘I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.’” (Revelation 3:7-8)

While all these passages point out that God opens doors for effective ministry, the Colossians 4 passage adds the additional point that God opens doors for effective ministry in response to prayer.

Modern Examples of How God Opens Doors through Prayer

As I reflect on how God opens doors for effective ministry through prayer, one striking example comes to mind. In 1982 God led Brother Andrew, the founder of the organization “Open Doors,” to launch a seven-year prayer campaign for the opening of the Communist Bloc. The campaign began in 1983. Seven years later on November 9, 1989 the Berlin Wall came down and rest of Eastern European countries soon came out from under the Communist yoke. As a result, the 1990s witnessed the beginning of religious freedom first in Eastern Europe, then in the former Soviet Union.

I well remember reading Charles Colson’s accounts of the role that people of faith played in the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe in “The Body”. Little did I realize that God would open a door for me and my family to serve in Romania for 15 years, strengthening the churches there.

Paul reminds us that God “is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). In the case of Brother Andrew’s seven year prayer campaign, not only did God “open doors” in Eastern Europe, but God also opened up Central Asia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. At that time Central Asia was an even tougher “no access zone” than Eastern Europe.

God gave me an “open door” to have a short term ministry trip to Mongolia 2013 – where I learned how God opened this closed country with just four believers in 1990, built his church, which numbered at least 41,000 in 2014, and was using Mongolian believers to enter even more difficult “no access zones”.

Yes, God is able to do way more than we can ask or think.

Oh God, now open the 10/40 Window!

As Eastern Europe and Central Asia were breaking free from the Communist yoke, Christian leaders began to focus prayer attention on the world’s toughest “no access zone”, the 10/40 Window. For over two decades now, the month of October has been chosen to “pray through the window.” Although we have yet see an opening of North Africa, the Middle East, Central and Eastern Asia similar to the Communist Bloc, there are signs that God is at work in the region in an unprecedented way. What wonderful testimonies we hear of how God is drawing peoples in this region to himself and how encouraging to see the growing number of church or disciple making movements!   These “first fruits” should encourage us to continually intercede for the opening of the 10/40 Window.

So in response to prayer, God opens doors to for effective and fruitful ministry. This is another way that God is at work in our world today. Since this is the case, how are you praying for God to open doors? And when God opens a door for ministry, he has in mind someone to walk through that door, and you just might be the person! Are you ready to go with God through that open door?

October 4 is 10/40 Window Mission Sunday, a part of “Praying through the Window” month.

From 1 – 31 October 2015 Christ’s follower worldwide  will be Praying Through the Window. The first Sunday in October has been designated 10/40 Window Missions Sunday, which is October 4 this year. It is not too late to tell your church leaders about this special day of prayer, and encourage their participation.

The 10/40 Window is located from 10 degrees north to 40 degrees north of the equator. There are 69 nations across Northern Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia in the 10/40 Window. More than four billion people live here, including 90 percent of the world’s poorest of the poor.

The 10/40 Window is often called “The Resistant Belt” and includes the majority of the world’s Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Communist Governments. It is estimated that 1.6 billion of these people have never had the chance to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ – not even once!  (Source: win1040.com)

Since the 1990s this region of the world has been the focus of concentrated prayer – and we are now hearing wonderful reports of harvest in this part of the world.  For example, here is one encouraging report of what of how God is at work in India.

“The last decade has seen a great escalation of disciple making and church planting,” reports Dr. Victor Choudhrie leader of a church planting movement in that nation. What does he mean by “a great escalation”? Between Pentecost 2009 and Pentecost 2010, Choudhrie’s ministry saw one million baptisms. That’s a one followed by six zeros!

As is true of any revival or great awakening, this didn’t just happen. It was a sovereign work of the Holy Spirit ignited by the prayers of God’s people. “This was made possible because of an avalanche of prayer,” Dr. Choudhrie explains. “Both praying through the Spirit and praying through the mind. Holy Spirit-guided, informed strategy resulted in a huge harvest that we could not think or imagine.”

Theologian Karl Barth advised young theologians ‘to take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible.’ In previewing the items of concern for this year’s Praying Through the Window, I was encouraged how the promoters blend current events with and a biblical view of God’s desired future. You will be encouraged to read how God is at work in the 10/40 Window — And you can partner with those on the front lines through prayer.

Click here to pray specifically for these Global Issues

  • Global Terrorism
  • World Religions
  • Corruption
  • Lawlessness
  • Persecution

Click here for daily prayer points for the 69 Counties

Your prayers can make a difference. “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16 NIV)