January 2023

'Look, I have set before you an open door' Revelation 3.8 (NRSV)

Perhaps one of your New Year resolutions is concerned with prayer – this Saying can help to open a door in our search for a closer relationship with God.


Following the vision that John had on the Island of Patmos, he writes the letters to the seven Churches of Asia, dealing with the strengths and weaknesses of each of the Churches to which they are written. The church at Philadelphia is in good heart: it is not large, or impressive, or prestigious, but it is in good shape. So the doorway is before them, a door which Christ opens for effective work - not to those who are strong but to those who are faithful. 

This image occurs again and again: ch 3 v 20 ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock’. In ch 4 we have a glimpse of what lies beyond the door: ‘And after this I looked and lo, in heaven an open door! … and the voice which I had heard speaking … said “come up hither”.’

The future of the world looks very uncertain; our own future is uncertain. For some of us, it is something we dread – perhaps fearing uncertainty, loneliness, financial strain … The open door may well lead us into a time of trial, but often it is times of trial that lead us to new life, along paths that we would never have chosen for ourselves but which lead us to places that enrich and stimulate us. The door is ‘set before us’ - we limit ourselves if we force open doors of our own choosing. And then we may look back and see our own ‘open door’ experiences, recognizing them with hindsight as times when something opened up for us.

Sometimes our prayers are a kind of knocking at the door: in our Contemplative Prayer the door is already wide open, and we respond to the words that begin our time of prayer: “Come to me…”. We have only to let go of all that is distracting our attention so that we notice it: ‘Look! I have set before you an open door’. We do not have to force the door open – it is already ajar and it leads us into the presence of God.