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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,
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?
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!”