Give us Boldness!

29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. [1]

Observe the church’s prayer: “Now, Lord, consider their threats.” Whose threats? The Sanhedrin’s, of course. Just like the threats, plots, and rages against Jesus, the church viewed itself in much the situation he had experienced. The authorities had raged against him, and God made him to triumph in the power of his resurrection. So now the same temporal powers had raged and plotted against the apostles. Like Christ, God had delivered them. The Christians realized that the opposition was not over. The Sanhedrin continued to threaten them. One would expect them to ask God for further deliverance. They did not. Instead, they asked for more of the same, requesting of him boldness in witness and further miraculous signs. The request for miracle was not a request for power over their enemies. It was closely related to the request for boldness in witness.

I don’t know about you, but usually when I find myself in a tough spot, I tend to pray for deliverance.  In the modern church, if our “rights” are infringed upon, many times our first response is to say, “Lord protect us, or Lord, deliver us.”

In the United States, we have the luxury of democracy which is a wonderful thing.  However, often our democratic way of thinking gets in the way of kingdom thinking.  We expect the world and the government to be friendly and accepting toward us.  The early church was under no such delusion.  Granted, these were religious people threatening them, but they were religious people working for the government of the time.  The Sadducees worked in close cahoots with the government and thus the connection here.

The point is this; the church hadn’t suddenly turned to prayer as a last resort.  They had been in prayer since the church was born.  They knew that the signs and wonders wouldn’t be something that would bring them fame and notoriety as the “fastest growing church.”  So instead of deliverance they asked for God to continue His program and that God would give them boldness.  Luke records that the place shook and they continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

In the days we are living in, we don’t know how much longer we as the church will be able to operate with the freedom we now enjoy.  Perhaps it would be a good idea to make the prayer meeting the greatest attended meeting in the church instead of the most sparsely attended one.  Who knows what kind of signs and wonders, preaching and yes boldness may result.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Ac 4:29–31). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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