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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,
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!”
Is prayer like having a “blank check” to ask God for anything we want and expect to receive it?
22 And Jesus, replying, said to them, Have faith in God [constantly].
23 Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him.
24 For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].
25 And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop. Mark 11:22—24, Amplified).
I recall how Mark 11:22-25 became alive in me years ago; it changed my perception on prayer. It was the “seed” that produced the faith I needed to rise up and pursue a consistent and fervent life of prayer. This shifted my prayer life to a higher dimension for which we have been called. Believe it and put into practice so that you will know that God still does answer prayer.
Sure it may appear to be a blank check, but it is not. There are two prerequisites in these passages that are essential to answered prayer. They are: Faith and Forgiveness.
First, let’s recap the scenario and circumstances surrounding this lesson on prayer. After Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, He and the disciples went out to Bethany. The next day upon leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry and saw a fig tree with leaves from a distance, which ordinarily meant there were figs on the tree. However, when He reached the tree there were no figs only leaves because “it was not the season for figs.” However, there should have been edible buds on the tree since leaves were on it.Since there were no edible buds, it was the indication that the tree would be fruitless that year.
Throughout Old Testament history and prophecies, the fig tree and its fruit (fig) were associated with God’s promises of prosperity and carried prophetic warnings. The fig tree was a symbol of long-continued well-being and prosperity. Therefore, for the tree to have leaves but no edible buds, which was a sign that there would be no figs, means it was out of divine order, and unproductive in accordance with God’s purpose and promises. Also, note this was the condition of the Jewish leaders (Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes) at that time—unproductive and out of alignment with God’s purpose and promises. This tree represented creative deception (false advertisement, if you will). So Jesus made a prophetic declaration in faith against the tree (He cursed the tree). He said to the tree, “No one ever again shall eat fruit from you” (Mark 11:14).
At this point, it was an object lesson for the apostles, and an impartation that released the power of the spoken word (prophetic declaration). This is just as relevant for us today. However, please note that EVERYTHING declared must align with the order of God, and anything that personifies deception, or opposes God’s promises and the productivity that He has ordained must not be allowed to remain.
The next day Peter observed the fig tree and pointed out to Jesus that the tree He cursed was withered. Jesus’ reply to Peter’s observation appears unrelated and definitely unexpected. He said, “Have faith in God.” What does a withered fig tree have to do with faith in God? I’m glad you ask. The withered tree is the manifestation of a declaration of faith that was in agreement with the will, design and order of God.
This kind of faith is supernatural and progressive—faith in the power of God so much so that what you say is aligned with what you know to be His purpose will come to pass. Your faith must be evident by what you say and do. Jesus demonstrated the “power” of the spoken word against something that is not aligned with the will of God. Specifically, the tree was planted to bear fruit for food (Genesis 2:9a). If there were leaves on the tree there should have been fruit. Having leaves and no fruit was deceptive in nature and against God’s divine order. Again, this was an object lesson for the disciples because they didn’t have that level of faith yet. However, Jesus imparted this knowledge unto them—a key to prayers being answered is having faith in God and speaking. Believing that what you say will happen, it will be done for you as long as it is in agreement with God’s will, way and word. Wow!
“…whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident0 that is granted to you, and you will [get it]” Mark 11:24, Amplified).
Have you prayed for anything? Do you believe you will receive it, or do you believe you have already received it? To believe you have received it is to believe your request has been granted in the Spirit realm before it’s manifested in the natural.
This is why many of our prayers are not answered, or should I say not being manifested in the natural. We don’t make faith declarations; neither do we believe until we see the manifestation in the natural. NOW faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]” Hebrew 11:, Amplified.
At the moment Jesus spoke to the tree, he knew his prayer was heard and answered by God the Father and would be manifested in the natural. Another example is in John 11:41-42. Jesus’ prayer for the resurrection of Lazarus had already been answered. How do we know? “And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, Father, I thank you that you have heard Me. Yes, I know You always hear and listen to Me, but I have said this on account of and for the benefit of the people standing around, so that they may believe that You did send Me [and You have made Me Your Messenger].”
When you pray with confidence that your prayer is already answered, the manifestation of it is for the benefit of others so that they will believe. Therefore, your petition or requests should always be aligned with God’s will. Lazarus being raised from the dead was already God’s desire (John 11:4). When we pray for what we know is God’s will, we should also expect our prayer to be answered simply for the purpose of bringing glory to God through our faith in His Son Jesus Christ.
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” I John 5:14-15
The second prerequisite is forgiveness. Jesus makes it clear to the disciples that forgiveness is a necessity for answered prayer. Forgiveness is a fundamental principle in the kingdom of God (Matthew 18:21-35). After all, forgiveness is central to the plan of salvation. Because the Father forgives us, we must forgive others. Forgiveness is a matter of the heart, and the condition of our heart determines the truth about our relationship with the Lord as well as others. Basically, our relationship with others is just as important as our relationship with the Lord when it comes to answered prayer.
Therefore, if we want our prayers answered, we must keep our hearts pure. “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop” (Mark 11:25, Amplified).
Ultimately, not only does unforgiveness hinder answers to prayer, it severs our connection with the Father. There can be no bitterness or resentment to block the lines of communication and fellowship with God.
What assurance to know that our prayers are answered because of our faith in God. However, to live with the assurance of answered prayer, we must guard our heart from the pollutions of the world and the lustful desires of our sin nature. We must rely on the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and the cleansing power of the Blood of Jesus to purify our heart that we may be able to freely forgive others and receive forgiveness from our Father.
The good news is God still answers prayer today! Don’t give up! What are you praying for? Do you believe your prayer will be answered, or is already answered and you’re waiting on the manifestation? If you believe it’s already answered and you’re just waiting for the manifestation, then you should be saying as Jesus said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard me…”
Will you confess any unforgiveness that has hindered your prayers from being answered? If so, repent; ask God for forgiveness and start fresh in faith believing the Word of God.
After reading and meditating on this, how will you change your approach when going to God in prayer?
Will you pray with greater expectation, and yet wait patiently for the manifestation of your answer?
©2007, ©2012 Queen E. F. Phillips