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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
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.
King Jehoshaphat’s Prayer, 2 Chronicles 20:1-12 (The Complete Jewish Bible, Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.) I suggest reading the entire 20th chapter.
Prayer: A Call for Help!
Focal point: When it God’s plan the battle is not yours!
This chapter is one of my favorites!
King Jehoshaphat made a bad decision allying himself with King Ahab, but God delivered him from the Syrian captains when he cried out for help (18:28-32). After his rescue, he was challenged by Jehu to do the good that was in his heart. King Jehoshaphat had prepared his heart to seek God (that is key, 19:3). He led a reformation to turn the people back to God. He gave instructions to the judges he set in place to administer justice. His instructions were very clear: “Take heed to what you are doing for you do not judge for man but for the Lord, who is with you in the judgment.” Note*** this country would be more peaceful if these instructions were heeded today! In essence, you could say, reform began with the judiciary system (19:6-11).
In chapter 20, opposition arose and the king was the target. NOTE: Always expect opposition to follow when you set your heart to obey God and do what is right. King Jehoshaphat received terrifying news that a great multitude was coming against him, and the king was afraid. Nevertheless, his fear drove him to seek the Lord. He called a fast throughout Judah. They came together—all the cities of Judah came to seek the Lord’s help. The king himself stood before the people in the house of the Lord and prayed:
“Adonai, God of our ancestors, you alone are God in heaven. You rule all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and strength, so that no one can withstand you. 7 You, our God, drove out those living in the land ahead of your people Isra’el and gave it forever to the descendants of Avraham your friend. 8 They lived in it, built you a sanctuary in it for your name, and said, 9 ‘If calamity strikes us, such as war, judgment, disease or famine, we will stand before this house — that is, before you, since your name is in this house — and cry to you in our distress; and you will hear us and rescue us.’
10 “So now, see: the people of ‘Amon, Mo’av and Mount Se‘ir, whom you would not let Isra’el invade when they came out of the land of Egypt, so that they turned away from them and did not destroy them, 11 are now repaying us [evil]; they have come to throw us out of your possession, which you gave us as an inheritance.12 Our God! Won’t you execute judgment against them? For we haven’t strength enough to defeat this huge horde coming against us, and we don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
What can we observe and learn from King Jehoshaphat’s prayer when petitioning God for help?
- Jehoshaphat’s approach to God (verse 6)
- He acknowledges LORD (ADONAI) JEHOVAH (“the existing One”, the proper name of the one true God).
- He acknowledges Him as God of our fathers, which establishes his ancestry connection, and covenant relationship.
- He acknowledges God’s positional authority, Sovereignty, rule over all kingdoms and nations, and His being all-powerful (omnipotence). None can withstand the one true living God!
- Jehoshaphat’s account of history with God (verse 7)
- He recounts history that demonstrates God’s power
- He recalls what God did in the past—drove out the inhabitants of the land He promised Abraham
- Fulfilled His promise by giving the land to Abraham’s descendants forever.
- Jehoshaphat recalls God’s plan for the building of the Temple (verses 8,9)
- A sanctuary, God’s dwelling place; a centralized location for His chosen people to worship Him.
- He recalls King Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the Temple.
- He repeats the words of the prayer (2 Chronicles 6:20, 28-30) before God and the people hears the words as well, which included a request for God to rescue them if they’re in distress and cry out for help. ***PRAY GOD’S WORD!!!
- Jehoshaphat states the present “distressful” situation (verses 10, 11)
- He calls out the names of the enemies that have risen against them.
- He seemingly “blames” God; HOWEVER what he does is points out the children of Israel’s obedience to God; God would not allow Israel to destroy when they were delivered from Egypt.
- Now the tables are turned and they’ve come to drive them out of the land. Note: Jehoshaphat clearly states God is the owner and they are inheritors
- Jehoshaphat petitions God to execute judgment; punish those that coming to fight against them (verses 12, 13).
- He confesses/admits they are helpless; they have no strength to defeat the enemies coming against them
- He confesses/admits he does not have a plan…but…
- He unashamedly declares they’re looking to God (our eyes are upon You), as all of Judah i.e., their household and families looked in expectation for God to intervene.
Needless to say, God sent a word in response to the king’s petition for help (verses 14-17).
God always has a plan and will execute His plan in our defense to fulfill His purpose. However we should acknowledge who He is, His greatness, power and recall past demonstrations of His power, whether in His written Word or in our personal life. As Jehoshaphat, we must admit we need His help and expect Him to respond to our cry for help. Not only that, but follow His instructions that will defeat the enemy. **PRAISE is a weapon!
(c) 2014 Queen E. Phillips. All rights reserved.
Let’s consider Jeremiah’s prayer within the context of Chapter thirty-two.
Focal point: Obedience to God’s instructions when they seem irrational to human understanding.
Jeremiah was imprisoned in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace of King Zedekiah (32:1-2). He was imprisoned because of his obedience to God’s command to prophesy the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, and that the people would be carried off into captivity, including the king (vs. 3-5).
Here are the questions based on human rationale: If Jerusalem will be destroyed and the people carried away, what sense does it make to purchase land? Why buy worthless land?
Nevertheless, Jeremiah was obedient to what the LORD instructed; he bought the land and put the title deeds in a clay jar (vs. 6-13). WORTH NOTING is that although God commands/instructs us to do something irrational to us, He always has a purpose for what He instructs us to do. Also, because He is sovereign, He may not or may tell us His purpose, as He did with Jeremiah.
The reason Jeremiah was instructed to buy the land, and preserve the title deeds in a pottery jar was to signify that someday all the land of Judah, worthless at the time because of Babylonian invasion, would once again become valuable, would be bought and be occupied by God’s chosen people. In essence, buying the land was a “prophetic act” of faith in the sovereignty of God and the truth of His word.
Although Jeremiah’s instructions were private, his actions were public. No doubt, the act of symbolism was senseless to the people; yet, the prophet obeyed.
There is a trendy saying now, “Just do it.” Let me encourage you, “just do it”–just do what God says. Additionally, when you obey God’s instructions regardless of how illogical they may seem, acknowledge His sovereignty. Since God is sovereign, you can trust Him to work all things according to the counsel of His will and good pleasure.
Here’s Jeremiah prayer acknowledging God’s sovereignty, which substantiates his obedience to God’s instructions, and affirms his trust in God’s faithfulness to perform what He has spoken:
16 Then after I had given the papers to Baruch, I prayed to the Lord:
17 “O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you! 18 You show unfailing love to thousands, but you also bring the consequences of one generation’s sin upon the next. You are the great and powerful God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 19 You have all wisdom and do great and mighty miracles. You see the conduct of all people, and you give them what they deserve. 20 You performed miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt—things still remembered to this day! And you have continued to do great miracles in Israel and all around the world. You have made your name famous to this day.
21 “You brought Israel out of Egypt with mighty signs and wonders, with a strong hand and powerful arm, and with overwhelming terror. 22 You gave the people of Israel this land that you had promised their ancestors long before—a land flowing with milk and honey. 23 Our ancestors came and conquered it and lived in it, but they refused to obey you or follow your word. They have not done anything you commanded. That is why you have sent this terrible disaster upon them.
24 “See how the siege ramps have been built against the city walls! Through war, famine, and disease, the city will be handed over to the Babylonians, who will conquer it. Everything has happened just as you said. 25 And yet, O Sovereign Lord, you have told me to buy the field—paying good money for it before these witnesses—even though the city will soon be handed over to the Babylonians.”
In the end, what God promises will come to pass! Do you believe this?
Can we acknowledge God’s sovereignty by being obedient to His irrational instructions?
Are we at a point in our relationship with God that if He instructs us to do something irrational and does not tell us why, will we be obedient?
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?
I enjoy reading and studying the prayers of patriarchs, prophets and other people in the Old Testament. There’s a lot we can learn if we spend some quality time studying their prayers.
We’ll start sharing some insights that can help us and enhance our prayer life. If you would like to get a jump start, read Jeremiah’s prayers (17:14-18; 32:16-25). Read King Jehoshaphat’s prayer (2 Chronicles 20:1-12). Read Daniel’s prayer (Daniel 9:1-19).
This will be a long series, so get ready; you will be blessed.
As always, thanks for visiting!
No matter how perplexing or challenging your situation is your prayers do not have to be. They should be specific, but keep ’em simple. God is not impressed with lengthy prayers and flattering words to show off your vast vocabulary. Notwithstanding, there is absolutely nothing wrong with intelligent, articulate prayers. However, it’s not about being grammatically correct and fancy words; it’s about a believing heart. Since the Lord knows everything, there is no need to pretend. It is not your vocabulary that gets God’s attention, it is your faith.
Your faith in God, your relationship with Jesus Christ and your commitment to that relationship, regardless of your adversity, give you the privilege of talking to the Creator of the Universe, our Father, in your native language to express your needs and concerns in simplicity. After all, God can even interpret your silence because He hears your heart and sees your faith.
Wrong motives – “You ask and you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasure” (James 4:3). Selfishness is one of the greatest hindrances to answered prayer. Petitioning God for selfish reasons is certain to keep your prayers from being answered. Over indulgence is sin. Matt. 20:20-22; Luke 12:13-15). Note a proper motive is recorded in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. In other words, whatever you ask for in prayer and whatever you do in deeds (works) the motive should be to give God glory.
There is no need to try to impress others. We are all uniquely and wonderfully made in God’s image (Psalm 139:14; Genesis 1:26). We are complete in Him, (Colossians 2:10) and loved unconditionally by Him.
Trying to impress other people is like saying you are dissatisfied with who God made you to be. Be yourself and talk to your personal God. “And when you pray, you are not to be as the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners, in order to be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full” (Matthew 6:5).
When praying with others, there is always a danger of being more concerned with what they think about your prayers than being concerned with the One to whom your prayers are directed. Never try to impress people when you pray and God is certainly not impressed by prayers.
Giving is a principle in the Kingdom of God. God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7). Additional scriptures concerning giving are:
1 John 3:17-20; Proverbs 21:13; Luke 6:38. I also encourage you to find other scriptures that teaches on giving; there are lots of them!
Scripture reference: John 15:7
“But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!”
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).
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