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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,
I really believe this post is specifically written to encourage you to keep praying; keep believing and trusting in the faithfulness and unconditional love of God to change your situation and/or change you concerning your situation.
One of the greatest parables Jesus taught on persistence in prayer is found in Luke 18:1-8. If you read the parable, it reminds us that sometimes it appears that the unjust has the upper hand and is in control of all that concerns you– your well-being. Not so! It’s important to know the will of God concerning you. For example, the widow understood that her well being was God’s will for her…that she should be taken care of. She also understood that the judge was out of the will of God where justice was concerned. He was unjust because he was not accountable to God for administering justice as ordained by God.
My encouragement to you is persist in prayer regardless of how it appears to be no change; but above all seek to know God’s will concerning you and your situation. Question: Are you the elect of God? Then know that God hears and answers…trust Him to be faithful. Reread the parable in Luke 18:1-8; meditate on it and let the Holy Spirit minister to you.
Remember, your persistence in prayer is a demonstration of your faith in God.
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.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:2, NLT).
Our behavior is a reflection of our thoughts. The prayer of renewal is key to the “renewing” of the mind. In essence, changing the way we think is accomplished through prayer and the application of God’s Word in daily living.
Psychology says that behavior is learned. I say, wrong behaviors are in our nature simply because of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. For example, no one has to teach an exploring one-year-old to be disobedient. It’s a natural tendency to disobey his parents. Of course, as the toddler grows and develops, he becomes more active and learns to “copycat” the behavior displayed by those in his “world”— those responsible for nurturing and teaching him. It is the beliefs and thoughts of those individuals—parents, guardians, siblings, that shapes their behavior as well as the child’s behavior, whether it is good or bad. Since we are innately inclined toward evil, it’s easier to act on the evil thoughts that are always lurking. Consequently, if the child’s environment is dominated by bad behavior, guess what? Bad behavior is the norm. As a result of the original sin of Adam and Eve the human race was spiritually contaminated. The natural tendency of every human being is to do the opposite of what God instructs. David said it like this: “Behold, I was brought forth in [a state of] iniquity; my mother was sinful who conceived me [and I too am sinful]” (Psalm 51:5, AMPLIFIED).
Although the propensity to behave wrongly is habitual, it does not have to dominate. Thanks to God, we have the option of changing our behavior by changing the way we think.
Therefore, in order to learn God’s good, pleasing and perfect will, and avoid copying the wrong behaviors and customs of this world (and others in close proximity to us), prayer is absolutely essential. Specifically, prayer of renewal.
Prayer of renewal is critical so that we renew our minds consistently with biblical truths in order to maintain a clear focus on God—who He is, and who we are because of Him. Prayer of renewal redirects our thinking so that we focus on God’s purpose for us while we’re living on planet Earth.
In prayers of renewal, we should present our entire being to Him, and ask that the illuminating power of His Word enlighten our mind. We should commit to growing in intimate relationship with Him, and ask that our mind is purified through the life-giving Spirit of Truth. We must appeal to God’s amazing grace to make this happen for us. Above all, we must be confident that He hears us and is well able and willing to grant our request for renewing our mind. In essence, we want to think “God thoughts” so that our behavior will be godly conduct, which reflects the life and works of Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
An example of a prayer of renewal:
Holy and righteous is Your name. I reverence You. Father, thank You for the unconditional love and compassion that You show us each day, and that You allow us to present our body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto You. We recognize this is our spiritual act of service and worship to You. We know it is not Your desire for us to conform (copy the behavior) of this world; instead You want us to be changed by changing the way we think. Help us! Teach us through Your Word how to redirect our thoughts and always focus on You and Your instructions. Father, through Your Holy Spirit, help us to think on things in agreement with Your Word in Philippians 4:8-9, so that we will be pleasing You and live joyfully and peacefully here on earth. Thank You, Father. We pray this prayer with thanksgiving; in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
- “Conform” or be “Transformed”? – a prayer (thenestprays.wordpress.com)
The privilege of prayer, in itself, is really beyond our comprehension— the Creator of the Universe wants to talk to us. However, even more mind-boggling is knowing that He wants us to talk to Him, make request of Him on behalf of other people. This says that He is concerned about everyone!
Prayer of intercession is simply praying (talking) to God on behalf of someone else, or something life event. Although intercession is also petition, what distinguishes it from personal petition is that of approaching God on behalf of others. The other person you pray for may be known or unknown.
Prayer of intercession is most effective through the intercessory work of the Holy Spirit. We can pray for others based on our knowledge of their needs at any given time. However, there are times when our knowledge is limited; and we don’t the person, or anything concerning their circumstances, and the Holy Spirit brings them to our mind, or gives us an unction to pray for them.
Many individuals have been called to ministry of intercession (another topic). God has given them the responsibility of seeking Him and crying out (praying) to Him on behalf of others, even nations. They are called “intercessors.” While all believers should be intercessors to some degree, some persons are chosen specifically for the purpose of praying intensely and fervently for others, so that God’s will to be done on earth as it is heaven, and for His purposes to prevail.
A word of encouragement: Your consistency and faithfulness to prayer, seeking God and His plan/purpose for your life can “stir up” the gift, cultivate and bring forth the call to intercession, which has been in you all the time. You will sense the call, and know this if you’re constantly being “wooed” to pray…if there is always a desire to pray for others; or if the Holy Spirit always places people on your heart to pray for. I encourage you to remain faithful to the “call to pray.” Although, intercession may not be a glamorous, out-front area of ministry, it is one of the most humbling experiences and responsibilities to be entrusted with in the Kingdom of God.
A common example of intercession is apostle Paul. Intercession was Paul’s trademark evident throughout his letters recorded in the New Testament. Below are just a few things we should pray for on behalf of other
- Physical, psychological, and spiritual needs of other believers; those we know personally, and those we don’t know or may never meet (Ephesians 1:15-19; 3:14-19; Philippians 1:4, 9-11
- Salvation of unbelievers; that they would accept Jesus as Lord over their life; and that laborers to be sent forth into the harvest (Matthew 9:38)
- Open doors to witness; boldness and courage to make known the mystery of the gospel (Eph. 6:18-19)
- Clarity in the communication of the gospel (Colossians 4:3-4)
- Government, leaders and all in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
Our greatest example of a prayer of intercession is recorded in John 17th chapter. We find that Jesus prayed for Himself and others—His disciples then and for all that would believe afterward, which includes you and me. Please read John 17:20-23. Note that Jesus’ prayer for all believers is that we be one (united)! And guess what? I believe that Jesus’ prayer of intercession to the Father is already answered, and it will be manifested among the body of Christ.
- Prayer of Petition (prayercoachingprinciples.wordpress.com)
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!”