Week 34: Bold Prayers
23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,
“‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’—27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:23-31
Now, is that what your prayer life looks like? You see, we live in the safest country in the world during maybe the safest time in human history and yet most of us pray the wimpiest prayers in church history. We pray for traveling mercies and for God to be with us and for the food to nourish our bodies.
Now, don’t get me wrong, we can bring it all to God and it matters to Him because we matter to Him. But if this is the extent of our prayer life then we are really missing something. When is the last time you prayed this kind of BOLD prayer?
Now, a little context may help here. Peter and John are fresh out of jail for preaching and healing in the name of Jesus. And they immediately go to their friends, which is their church family. And the first thing the group does after Peter and John fill them in on what is happening, is that they pray.
Now let me ask you, is prayer your first response or a last resort? And not only did these Jesus followers pray, but look at the content of their prayer. They start with this, “Sovereign Lord.” Now, why is that a big deal? It’s a big deal because Peter and John are fresh out of jail.
I would probably start with “Dear God, help me.” But these men fully acknowledge their trust in the sovereign hand of the Almighty God. They affirm their trust and belief that God works in ALL situations and that God is in no way surprised by these circumstances.
Not only is God not surprised, but they acknowledge that He has predestined them for His glory. And then, as if their prayer could not be any more God-centered and God-glorifying they turn it up a notch.
In the face of jail time and threats they pray for boldness, of all things. Now, if I am at the prayer meeting, I think I would be tempted to stop them and point out that it was their boldness that got them arrested in the first place.
Maybe we should pray for discernment or protection or safety. But, instead these early Christians pray for God, not to change their circumstances, but that God would mold them and shape them and encourage them and embolden them through their circumstances.
And when they finish praying the Bible says that the place that they were was “shaken.” When is the last time you were shaken in prayer? Now, the best part about prayers like this is that God cannot wait to answer this prayer.
So let me ask you, so…how’s your prayer life? Are you praying weak, rote, “me” centered prayers? What do you need to pray more boldly about in your life? What area of your life do you need to bring to God first in prayer and trust His sovereignty over? Where do you need to ask God, not to change your circumstances, but to give you the boldness to glorify Him through your circumstances?
Now, may you be shaken as you pray boldly to the sovereign King of the universe. And may your heavenly Father answer that prayer by drawing you DEEPER into a relationship with Him.