14th December 2023

John Piper shares



O Lord, Open a Door for the Word!

Colossians 4:2-4
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving; and pray for us also, 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, as I ought to speak.

I chose this text for one reason: because next Sunday our aim is to worship at a church with a lot of people there who don't ordinarily go to church.

And if I understand this text correctly, the human key that might unlock the blessing of God's power and grace in that service is steadfast, watchful, thankful prayer.

If we pray steadfastly this week, and with wakefulness, and with expectant thankfulness, this text gives us strong hope that God will open a door for the Word so that faith will come to many people.

Let me begin with a story told by Wesley Duewel, whom I met out at Colorado Springs a few weeks ago.
The point of the story is that God opens doors for the gospel in response to earnest prayer.

The story is about Duncan Campbell, a minister of the United Free Church of Scotland.
He was a personal friend of Wesley Duewel and told him many stories of God's amazing guidance during the late 1950s and '60s in the Hebrides (the islands just west of Scotland) where Campbell was serving.

Duncan was seated on the platform after speaking to the Faith Mission Convention in Bangor, Northern Ireland, when he sensed the inner voice say to him, "Berneray!"
(That is a small island in the Hebrides.)
Duncan bowed his head and prayed silently.
Again came the name "Berneray." He prayed on, and the name came a third time.

So Campbell turned to the chairman and whispered,
"Brother, you will need to excuse me. The Holy Spirit has just told me that I am to go to Berneray."

The chairman objected mildly, "You are the speaker tomorrow."
But nothing could stop him. He knew the Spirit had spoken.
He reminded Wesley Duewel, who was telling this story,
"I had never been to Berneray, had never known anyone from there, and had never received a letter from anyone there."

He went to the hotel and packed his two suitcases and contacted the airport.
There were no connections with Berneray because it was too small and out of the way.
So he caught the first flight to the nearest island.

When he got there he went down to the coast and asked how to get to Berneray.
The answer from a fisherman was that there is no usual commercial way, but that he would take him for such and such an amount.
It was almost the exact amount Campbell had in his pocket.

When they got to Berneray the fisherman returned and left Campbell alone on the shore.
He climbed the bluff and found himself on the edge of a ploughed field and a farmer not far away.

He said, "Please go to the nearest pastor and tell him Duncan Campbell has arrived."
The farmer responded, "We don't have a minister for the church now."
"Do you have elders?" Campbell asked.
"Yes." "All right, go to the nearest elder and tell him, Duncan Campbell has arrived."

The farmer looked at him quizzically, then started off across the field as Campbell rested on his suitcases.
After a while the farmer returned and said,
"The elder was expecting you. He has a place ready for you.
He has announced the meetings begin at nine o'clock tonight."

While Campbell had been ministering in the convention at Bangor three days earlier,
this elder had spent the day praying in his barn for God to send revival to the island.

God gave him the promise in Hosea 14:5: "I will be as the dew unto Israel."
He claimed it in faith.
His wife in the house heard him praying in the barn,
"Lord, I don't know where he is, but You know, and with You all things are possible.
You send him to the island."

He knew in his heart that God was going to send Duncan Campbell, who had been used in mighty revival in other parts of Scotland, to Berneray.
He was so sure that he would be there in three days that he made all the arrangements to use the local church and had announced the services.

Wesley Duewel goes on to say that great revival came to the island of Berneray and a great door for the Word was opened that no man could shut because God opened it.

He draws out this lesson:
"When God has people who prevail in prayer, and people who know how to recognize the voice of the Spirit and obey without question, there is no limit to what God can do."

(Story taken in part verbatim from Let God Guide You Daily by Wesley Duewel, Zondervan, 1988, pp. 117-119.)

To encourage you, let's look at today's text in Colossians 4:2-4.
Paul is urging the Colossians to pray just like I am urging you today to pray.

This is an edited version.
The full article and Bible references are avaiable on request

Brothers and sisters, pray for a door to be opened to the Word next Sunday morning!

John Piper
(@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary.
For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
He is author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist and most recently Foundations for Lifelong Learning: Education in Serious Joy.


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