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Praying for boldness is key when faced with opposition and severe threats against the advancement of God’s Kingdom agenda.
Have you ever been threaten to keep silent when you were the minority speaking the truth amid immorality or anything against the knowledge of God’s expressed will?
If so, maybe you can relate to Peter’s and John’s ordeal in Acts 4. However, to clearly understand why they prayed for courage is in chapter three of Acts—the healing of the lame man at the gate of the Temple, which caused opposition to the continuation of Jesus’ earthly ministry through His apostles. After the healing of the lame man, Peter seized the opportunity to preach Jesus. He expounded on the miraculous demonstration of God’s supernatural power that amazed the onlookers and those who witnessed the lame man walking, leaping and praising God (Acts 3:9-26).
Peter spoke the Truth boldly:
13 For it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of all our ancestors—who has brought glory to his servant Jesus by doing this. This is the same Jesus whom you handed over and rejected before Pilate, despite Pilate’s decision to release him. 14 You rejected this holy, righteous one and instead demanded the release of a murderer. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact! 16 “Through faith in the name of Jesus, this man was healed—and you know how crippled he was before. Faith in Jesus’ name has healed him before your very eyes. 17 “Friends, I realize that what you and your leaders did to Jesus was done in ignorance.
If you really want to upset people, speak the truth while confronting their denial or rejection of it.
Although many will reject it, many will also receive it! For example, upon hearing Peter’s message about 5,000 believed it.
Opposition grew stronger. Peter and John were arrested for preaching and teaching Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. But when they sat before the Sanhedrin, Peter stood firm by continuing to speak the truth. No one could deny the miracle; therefore, they used intimidation as a tactic to silence them. They perceived Peter and John were uneducated and unlearned men in comparison to themselves; they were only fishermen. Yet they marveled at their boldness, realizing they had been with Jesus.
Note: Never allow intimidation by your opponent to make you fearful of declaring God’s Truth.
Intimidation is a strategy often used by your opponent to weaken your confidence. It’s a tactic to make you fearful. The rulers, elders, priests, and religious leaders did not want the Good News to spread. They forbade them to speak or teach in the name of Jesus.
Again, Peter boldly declared we must speak the things which we have seen and heard. In essence, Peter was saying, we cannot deny what we know as truth; we are speaking what we experienced personally as witnesses of Jesus Christ. The one thing your opponents cannot do, that is take away what you know. Your personal encounter with Jesus Christ is your truth, which establishes your convictions and confirms your confidence.
What happens next is enlightening! Rather than back down because of their threat, they came together in prayer—on one accord (harmoniously). They prayed:
“And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” (Read the entire prayer in Acts 4:23-31).
The results: God answered their prayer!
“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”
The answer to their prayer for boldness came with the powerful infilling of the Holy Spirit!
This is a noteworthy point: Although Peter spoke boldly in that situation, opposition would continue. Therefore, they would need boldness for the next time threats arose, and the next. They had already been filled with the Holy Spirit. However, in order to continue in ministry, and stand in the face of opposition in spite of threats to declare the truth, we need to be refilled, refreshed and refueled. In essence, praying for boldness should not be a “one-time” prayer request.
Are you facing opposition? Are you being threaten because you refuse to keep silent any longer? If so, prayer for boldness is key when faced with opposition and severe threats against the advancement of God’s Kingdom agenda. The boldness, courage and confidence you need is available through the supernatural power of God’s Spirit. Therefore, PRAY FOR BOLDNESS!
Praying for boldness,
After working over 30 years in corporate America and rendering public service in a state government agency, I am finally where I belong—the Prayer Room. Although it is not a popular place, nor is it a public meeting place, it is the perfect place for me simply because by nature I am a private person. As an only child, I adjusted quickly to solitude and I learned to embrace silence.
The Prayer Room is the place designated to pray; the supernatural is welcomed to invade the natural, which results in spiritual transformation. Change is not always visible to the naked eye, yet there are moments when obvious change has taken place beyond our finite comprehension.
I am so thankful that purpose pursued me! I am at peace in this place of prayer, where God’s presence penetrates the core of my being, invades my heart and pure worship captivates my soul. I have been summoned to this place for purpose.
Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name!
My journey to this place was destined by God before the foundations of the world. It is being in this place that I am convinced of my call to prayer and intercession. More importantly, I am humbled to be entrusted with serving my King and partnering with Him in Kingdom assignment.
“For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].” Ephesians 2:10 AMP
The path that I traveled these 30 plus years has not been without challenges—detours, obstacles, curves, and cliffs (trials and tribulations). As I reflect on my journey, I am convinced that God Almighty had me on the path to promise even when I didn’t realize it. He has proven Himself faithful to keep His promise: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Now that I’m in this secret place, I know there is more for me to learn and do. As Apostle Paul said,”
“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:12-14
At my local church’s noon day bible study, we are watching the “Easter Experience.” Episode 3 reminded of just how much Jesus endured—the beating, mocking and humiliation—that qualifies Him to know the depth of my pain. He knows about…
- Emotional pain. He experienced grief, anger and agony. He knows how it hurts to be mocked, ridiculed, falsely accused.
- Relational pain. He experienced rejection and betrayal. Those he had walked with for three or more years deserted Him in the hour they should have stood in support of Him. After all, they were eye-witnesses to His compassion and care for them and the multitudes He ministered to. Yet, they denied their relationship to Him and ran away leaving Him alone.
- Physical pain. He experienced physical pain. Can you imagine being beaten as if tenderizing meat before cooking it? Or the blood that streamed and splattered after each pulverizing blow? Can you image the severe pain when a crown of thorns was placed on His head?
It was a flinching reaction for me just watching the Roman soldiers, who were experts at beating a man. But this was not just any man; this Man was innocent! He had committed no sin or did no wrong. This was Jesus, the Beloved Son of God, being beaten. His body was being crushed so that we can be healed and whole! His blood was shed so that we could be forgiven and cleansed from sin. It was an emotional moment as I watched the blood splatter and the soldiers gasping for breath because they were exhausted from beating this innocent Man unmercifully.
Then, my perspective changed when I remembered Isaiah 53:
He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
Then my perspective changed when realized it should have been me. This realization birthed in me eternal gratitude, which will always be expressed in my prayer: “Thank You, Lord for suffering in my place!” I am so grateful that we don’t have a High Priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So in prayer I will always walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.
In the book, Prayer Principles for Beginners, the author made what some might consider a controversial statement. She said,
“The truth is no one can actually teach another person exactly how to pray because it is personal dialog with God.”
Knowing that it may be controversial, she explained by giving Jesus’ example. She wrote:
We can only give a pattern to follow, principles and guidelines from God’s Word to prepare and equip you for a life of prayer. In Luke 11:1, the disciples asked Jesus, ‘Lord, teach us to pray…’ Jesus gave them a model or pattern to follow. He established principles and guidelines to help them gain a new perspective on the Kingdom of Heaven and their approach to a relational God who desires to have a parent-child relationship with those who belong to Christ. These same principles are applicable for us today. It is about relationship.
If the concept of prayer is based on parent-child relationship to the Father, learning to pray should be different because the process of personal growth and development changes. In essence, we have the principles and patterns of prayer, but how we learn to pray is synonymous with our spiritual growth and relationship to God. For example, our parents taught us a prayer that we learned and recited as a child before going to bed every night. It became a nightly routine sometimes with a parent kneeling with us or leading us until we memorized it:
Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. May God guard me through the night And wake me with the morning light. Amen.
Hopefully, no adult that has accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is still praying the above prayer. The idea is as we grow in age and spirituality, being in relationship with Christ, our prayers change as our level of understanding increases. Basically, as we become spiritually mature Christians, our conversation with the Father (prayer) should reflect our maturity as well as our level of commitment to Christ. Moreover, when our personal faith in God increases, and we grow in the knowledge of God through experiences, we learn how to pray through the power of the Holy Spirit–the Spirit of Truth. Yet, we must follow the pattern, apply the principles and become habitual in the practice of prayer in order to be consistent in our learning experience.
Sure, no one can actually teach another person exactly how to pray because it is personal dialog with God. However, we learn to pray as we grow in our relationship to the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ through the practice of prayer.
It is easy to be identified as having a longing soul especially during times of grief, the holiday season and other events that can cause frustration and unfulfilled needs. This can become an entrapment that makes life seem unbearable. Usually the longing soul focuses on self-gratifying things, things of a temporal nature, compatible companionship and camaraderie, which cannot bring long-lasting satisfaction to a longing soul. Signs of a “longing” soul are running about, rushing and running to and fro, eager or greedy, thirsty, and yearning for more. The search for fulfillment is usually in temporal things that depreciate in value, or running to that individual you hope will satisfy the need you have to feel loved and secure. Unfortunately, none of these will satisfy the longing soul. The depth of the longing soul is beyond our comprehension and certainly greater than what we perceive as our greatest need. God never meant for another human being to take His place; to satisfy that part of us designed for Him.
The longing soul can only be satisfied by the One who created it, breathed life into it–the Giver and Sustainer of life. Truth is we can experience temporary and short-term satisfaction, but only God can give complete, long lasting, eternal satisfaction.
Sometimes we think we know what we are longing for, but more than likely, we really do not know. All we know is that something is missing–there is a deep void within, an emptiness that screams to be filled like a hungry infant at feeding time. Let me assure you that God knows what you’re longing for even if you do not. After all, He created you and He knows all things about you. He wants to fill your soul with Himself through the “life-giving” Spirit. Let us pray!
Prayer for the Longing Soul:
Father, You are Creator of the Universe, which is beyond our comprehension; yet You are so concerned about all mankind that you have a plan to implant Yourself in us that we can live eternally. This too is beyond our comprehension; so it is by faith that we accept Your plan. Father, I pray for those who are searching, running to and fro, thirsty for fulfillment that only comes from You. Your word in Psalm 107:9 declares that You satisfies the longing soul. Father, I pray for those who are unfulfilled, looking to people and temporal things to satisfy and meet a need that You want to meet. I pray for those who are desperate for companionship, and overwhelmed by life’s challenges. Lord, I pray that they invite you into their heart so that You can satisfy their thirsty soul. Only through an intimate relationship with You can we enjoy the abundant life that comes through faith in Your Son, Jesus Christ.
Father, our faith is in You; You are faithful to keep Your Word. Thank You, Father, for satisfying the longing (thirsty); in Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.
Today’s culture mocks devotion to the Christian lifestyle and obedience to God’s Word. Declaring the Good News of Jesus Christ is unpopular. Even sharing the truth of God’s Word and reminding Christians of the consequences of disobedience to God is unwelcome. When the truth falls on deaf ears it can be heartbreaking, we can feel ineffective, become discouraged, angry, disappointed and selfish in our prayers.
Can you imagine how Jeremiah felt after proclaiming God’s messages and warnings to the Israelites, God’s chosen people? From his prayers we can imagine his disappointment, frustration, discouragement, and yes, even anger. Consider Jeremiah’s prayer:
Jeremiah 17:14-18 New Living Translation (NLT)
14 O Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed;
if you save me, I will be truly saved.
My praises are for you alone!
15 People scoff at me and say,
“What is this ‘message from the Lord’ you talk about?
Why don’t your predictions come true?”
16 Lord, I have not abandoned my job
as a shepherd for your people.
I have not urged you to send disaster.
You have heard everything I’ve said.
17 Lord, don’t terrorize me!
You alone are my hope in the day of disaster.
18 Bring shame and dismay on all who persecute me,
but don’t let me experience shame and dismay.
Bring a day of terror on them.
Yes, bring double destruction upon them! Yes, bring double destruction upon them!
What is evident when you read this prayer?
I saw and heard three (3) things in Jeremiah’s prayer when I read it ALOUD:
- Personal relationship. Jeremiah’s attention is on his personal relationship with Jehovah God. It’s personal; it’s all about him (Jeremiah).
- Emotionalism mingled with faith. He acknowledges his faith in God to heal him because he is distressed, hurt (broken in spirit). He also acknowledges his faith in God to save (rescue and protect) him from the attacks of those who scoffs and mocks him because of his messages and warnings of disastrous judgment from God.
- Personal defense. He continues by expressing his faithfulness, consistency and persistence in his assignment. In essence, Jeremiah defends himself by saying, “I’ve done my job—I have done what You chose me to do, and I’ve said what You told me to say. Lord, this is Your plan; not mine.”
- Personal vindication/retaliation. After presenting his defense by reminding God of his obedience in carrying out his assignment, he then ask God to not let him be the object of terror or let him be destroyed. He acknowledges his hope (expectation) is in God alone when the time of disaster comes. However, he closes his prayer by expressing his desire for retaliation (vengeance) against those who persecuted him for doing his job. Basically, he unashamedly ask God to follow through with His plan to destroy those who persecuted him.
Important to note: God does not acknowledge Jeremiah’s prayer! In verse 19, God gives him another assignment with the command: “GO and stand in the gates of Jerusalem…”
Can you relate to Jeremiah’s personal conversation with God? Jeremiah’s prayer is really no different than ours when we are feeling overwhelmed in life and ministry, frustrated by challenges, and disappointed by people who hurt us, particularly those we are trying to help. Sometimes we may feel ineffective, yet we must be careful not to let our feelings of rejection and discouragement sabotage our faith and trust in the sovereignty of our God to the point that we are praying out of emotions instead of our spirit, which should be aligned with God’s will.
The next time you are frustrated, feeling overwhelmed, disappointed and discouraged, how will you pray?
Lack of faith – Praying without believing makes no sense. It is because you believe and trust the God you are in relationship with that you pray to Him. “But let him ask in faith without doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:6-7). When you talk to your heavenly Father, you should have an attitude of expectancy like a child that asks his/her loving earthly father for something. A child expects daddy to provide and protect. “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you HAVE received them, and they shall be granted you” (Mark 11:24).
Get the book at http://www.amazon.com/dp/1492208647
Improper treatment of your spouse hinder prayers from being answered. (This is specific to the husband and his treatment of his wife; however, why risk unanswered prayers because of our improper treatment of others, period.) Just treat everyone right…be kind, and love one another.
With our busy lives, scheduling appointments, setting reminders, and recording voice memos to remind ourselves about important events and priorities have become part of our normal routine. Usually, the appointments we set are the most important and we want to make sure we don’t forget them. In other words, what’s important to us, we schedule it in — appointments with our physicians, business partners, lunch dates, anyone and anything of importance. I’m sure you know the direction I’m headed by now…
How important is spending time with God to you? Is it a priority? It’s so easy to rush through the day and not MAKE time to pray.
Here are three suggestions to help you develop good prayer habits?
- Plan to pray. Set an appointment to meet with your heavenly Father. He desires to spend time with you. “Quickie” prayers have their place, but quality time talking and meditating in the Presence of God is like having a satisfying, full-course meal of your favorite foods.
- Choose the best time (You may even want to consult with Him about your appointment time). Select a specific time of the day, and commit personal prayer.
Personally, I am not a “morning” person, which simply means I don’t like to get up early, especially that I’m retired and don’t have to share freeway space in traffic jams. I’m a night owl! However, you may be just the opposite…an early morning person. So choose the best time for you. Ideally, morning is the best because we have been refreshed after the previous night’s rest. Early morning time is an excellent way to start your day with a fresh outlook, and the Holy Spirit can prepare you to meet the demands of the day. Also, early morning prayer time is an opportunity to present your plans for the day to the Lord.
- Be consistent. Whatever, time you choose, make a commitment to keep the appointment. Respect the time you’ve set as valuable as if you were going to your doctor appointment or a business meeting. Being consistent helps you to become disciplined. If you’re a Christian, and spending time with God is not your highest priority, your relationship with Him will suffer. I should warn you, if you set an appointment to meet God, He expects you to keep the appointment.
Ultimately, be intentional about pursuing God. If you want to grow spiritually, be strong in the Lord, grow in the knowledge of God the Father, and have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, spending regular and consistent time with Him, is absolutely essential.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)
I am so thankful that Father God is kind and forgiving. After all, it was kindness and unconditional love for us that He made Jesus Christ, who had no sin be sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). And He continues to forgive all who will acknowledge/confess their sin to Him now.
Confession is an essential form of prayer (communication with God); it is also a serious aspect of the Christian lifestyle. When we acknowledge or confess (admit) our sins, ask for forgiveness and repent, God is faithful and just to forgive us, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
In order to confess/acknowledge our sins, we should be sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our wrongdoing; He shows us the sin in our life so that we deal with it. If we don’t confess our sins, receive God’s forgiveness and cleansing power, we will continue to commit sinful acts. If we continue in sin, we cannot continue walking in the light and enjoying relationship with Christ. Sin can be compared to an infection that if goes untreated will spread and result in death. Spiritually speaking, if we don’t confess our sins to the Lord and allow Him to cleanse us, we risk being disconnected from Him and dying spiritually.
We should prayerfully examine our lives frequently, daily if necessary, to make sure we don’t allow sin to fester in our lives. I might also note that sins of the heart (jealousy, envy, covetousness) are sometimes easier to overlook than sinful acts such as fornication, adultery, theft, murder. Sin cannot be classified or categorized as “small” and “big”. We must confess all sin.
Also, use Scriptures when confessing your sins to God. Here is an example of a prayer of confession:
I come to you in the Name of Jesus Christ, my Savior and Lord. I ask You to have mercy upon me, Father, according to your loving kindness. Wash me and I shall be clean; purify my heart, cleanse me from all unrighteousness as you said in your word according to 1 John 1:9. Lord, I confess I sinned against you; I acknowledge my disobedience. I ask that you forgive me for grumbling and complaining and not walking in faith. I know that without faith it is impossible to please you. My desire is to please you, Father. Help me control my anger and have the right attitude that reflects your character. I am sorry;I turn away from my sin toward you in all honesty. Create a clean heart in me and renew my spirit to remain loyal to you. Thank you, Father for forgiving me and cleansing me. In Jesus’ Name with thanksgiving. Amen.
I recommend that after you pray, remain in silence to listen for Him to speak to your spirit concerning your confession and request for forgiveness. Make sure you confess all known or revealed sin; you may want to be specific about your sin (in your private prayer time, of course). After you’ve finished praying, He may give you Scriptures, or speak in a still small whisper to assure and comfort you. However, if He does not speak immediately after your prayer, let your faith and the Word give you the assurance that your prayer was heard, and you are forgiven, if you prayed earnestly in faith.
- Repentance Prayers – 5 Prayers to Help Free You From a Sin (christiansinspirational.com)
Three words uttered in sincerity changed my life forever! I attended a Sunday morning worship service in 1982 at a neighborhood church one of my aunts recommended. After the sermon, “Lord, help me” was the simple prayer the pastor instructed everyone to repeat, if you wanted the Lord to change your life. Truth is I don’t even remember the title of the sermon , not to mention specific content. But what I do remember is repeating those words, and being overpowered by a force so powerful that I literally had no control over my body, only my mind. My mind comprehended quickly this is real! Without a doubt, I knew it was the transforming supernatural power of God’s Spirit. It was that experience thirty years ago that convinced me of the supernatural power of God. To this date, when I call to mind that encounter, my reality of the power of God and prayer, even the simplest one assures me that God hears and answers a cry for help. Nobody can convince otherwise. In many circumstances, we may not like His answers or the method in which He answers; therefore, we must trust His sovereignty and wisdom to always do what is right and best in accordance with His will and plan for your life.
Your personal experience or encounter with God is the knowledge that you must hold on to when it appears He’s not answering your prayers. The one thing no one can take away from you—your reality …your truth that God is real. Perhaps, your personal experience was or may be different from mine, but within your heart you know… Hold on to what you know as your reality!
Know that you can always ask for God’s help and He will come to your rescue, in whatever way He chooses, when you ask in sincerity.
Has everyday since 1982 been an ice cream and cake walk, or a bed of roses for me? No! As a matter of fact, some days have been like being forced to eat liver and onions (In case you didn’t guess…I hate liver and onions!), and some nights have been like sleeping on a bed of thorns from the rose stems. Yet, I am so thankful that even in the “bad” days and sleepless night, I have never stop believing and praying. Why? Because of what I know happens when I call out to Him like I did that Sunday morning in 1982. After all Jesus did give an illustrative story to convey we should always pray and not lose heart (Luke 18:1-8).
So I ask you, what is your reality about the power of God and prayer that causes you to persist in prayer regardless of circumstances?
This can be your right now time to cry out, “Lord, help me!”