The Three-Open Prayer
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I was supposed to be speaking for an event at the Rosemont Horizon. It's this massive arena near Chicago's O'Hare Airport, and it is surrounded by a "spaghetti bowl" of expressway ramps. My driver was unfamiliar with the roads around the arena, so we spent an exciting few minutes circling the Horizon on one ramp after another. We just couldn't seem to find the ramp or the exit that went to the destination we wanted. It wasn't that we couldn't see the auditorium the whole time. Oh, I saw it plenty of times. It was just because we didn't know how to get into it!
"I want to get there. I just don't know how to get into it!" That's the cry of many who want to get to someone they care about with the message of Jesus. They understand the eternal urgency of getting there, but it's so hard to know how to get into it, isn't it!
Actually, there is a unique, Holy Spirit-directed approach for each individual life. But there are also some steps any believer can take in any situation. The starting point for any rescue conversation about Jesus is not talking to a person about God, but talking to God about that person. And the way to "get into" communicating Christ to someone may well be what I call the "Three-open prayer."
It's based on our word for today from the Word of God in Colossians 4:3-4. Paul says, "Pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ...Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should." Using this prayer as a launching pad for your own, you can pave the way for eternity-talk by daily asking God for three supernatural preparations; "Lord, open the door. Lord, open his/her heart. And Lord, open my mouth."
Okay, "Open the door." That is simply a natural opportunity to talk about your Jesus-relationship. The God who opened up the Red Sea for His children can surely engineer a natural, unforced opportunity for you to introduce Jesus into the conversation. Your open door will often arise from one of two sources: a common experience or something your lost friend is going through or talking about. God may open a door through something that happens in the news, something that's happening in your family or their family, or a hurting time in their life or your life. For those who have eyes to see them, the world is full of opportunities to bring up life's most important relationship.
The second part of the three-open prayer is asking God to "open their heart" to the Good News about Jesus. God has many ways of answering that prayer; bringing events, or bringing other people and experiences into their lives that can make them surprisingly ready for someone who does what Jesus does for a person.
Finally, you pray, "Lord, open my mouth." Or, "Lord, when You open the door, help me see the opportunity you're giving and help me open my mouth to talk about Jesus in an appropriate way." In fact, in Ephesians 6:19, Paul asked his friends to pray this, that "whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me." God's been doing that for 2,000 years. He'll do it for you.
If you want to get into a lost person's life, and I pray you do, try the ramp that's marked "The Three-Open Prayer": Lord, open the door, open their heart, and open my mouth. It is a prayer that God loves to answer!
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