21st February 2019


Prayer opens doors. That’s what Jesus says in Luke 11:9 when he teaches on prayer and says ‘knock and the door will be opened to you.’ That was the message I shared last night as I taught the people of St Andrew’s Huntington in York on prayer, at the invitation of my friend, Ian Birkinshaw.

We’ve seen examples of prayer opening doors just this week in York, as we’ve been praying for people to respond to the good news of Jesus. On Monday we opened the doors of St Michael le Belfrey Church and many people came in; one man in particular was intrigued by Jesus and after talking with two people, committed his life to Christ. That evening a student, who herself had recently decided to follow Jesus, brought friends to the student prophecy workshop, and one of them decided they too wanted to follow Christ. The next day at Hot Dog and a Prayer on the streets, another person, having received prayer, also made a commitment to Christ. These are just three examples of the Lord so graciously answering the kind of prayer that we’re urged to pray in Colossians 4:2, where Paul says, ‘pray … that God may open a door for our message.’

Prayer also opens doors to all sorts of other things, as Psalm 24:7 suggests – like bodies being touched by the Lord’s healing power and hearts filled with the Holy Spirit. It was lovely to have Bishop Graham Cray back with us at The Belfrey last Sunday evening. Many – not only those being baptised and confirmed – were impacted by the Holy Spirit. We covered the whole service in much prayer. One woman afterwards told me how she’d experienced a powerful God-encounter. I know of a young man who in prayer felt challenged to pick up again the gift of prophecy, and ended up prophesying over three people who were greatly impacted by the words he shared.

Prayer sometimes even opens the very door of heaven! 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 teaches this, that God will hear our prayers and pour out from heaven his mercy and forgiveness. Psalm 144:5 says something similar in the context of spiritual warfare; Malachi 3:10 in the context of renewed relationship demonstrated in prayerful generosity, and Matthew 3:16 shows us that God loves to open heaven as people prayerfully submit themselves to God in baptism. That’s why I’m committed to praying for all sorts of people, places and situations and why, yesterday morning, I met with other city leaders for an hour to pray that God would work in love and power, opening doors in our fantastic city of York.

Prayers are powerful. Even my prayers and yours! God loves to hear them. He loves you to pray them, more than most of us realise. They really do open doors.

Matthew Porter