Acts 4:27-31 – 27 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. 29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
We often wonder if God hears our prayers and sees our tears.
It is easy to convince ourselves that God does not care about every detail of our lives. Because we are pulled in so many directions by expectations – those of the world, those of ourselves, and those of others.
So we get lost and confused, and we turn ourselves away from what God has for us. We tell ourselves that we are doing good and things are fine … but deep down, in the most hidden places in our hearts, we know they aren’t.
And maybe Peter and John felt this same way that day at the temple. They were going to the temple to pray (Acts 3:1), possibly hoping to get direction from God or possibly hoping to get to talk about Him to anyone who would listen.
And then God presents them with an opportunity as they climb the temple steps and come face-to-face with a lame man, begging for enough to support himself and his parents. And Peter does not hesitate to meet the man’s expectation – only Peter does just as He saw Jesus do and goes above the man’s simple expectations. He says “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6) and then pulls the man up to standing.
The same man who never once in his life had stood or walked now walks into the temple with them. To the disbelief of all who know him. And they want to know what happened.
So Peter takes the opportunity to tell them who Jesus is and to remind them that repentance will change their lives. And the crowd is moved. Much to the chagrin of the religious leaders, who have them thrown in jail for the night.
The next morning, they come together in full force, hoping to intimidate the disciples into silence. They repeatedly threaten them, wanting to secure their silence and keep the crowds under their religious rule. But Peter and John will not cower. It is very simple for them – “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).
They are released, and they return to their fellow believers. And a prayer vigil breaks out. Because they want that extra boost of confidence to know that God is for them and God is with them. They have seen how the religious leaders treated Jesus, and they know their road will be just as hard … if not harder, since now the leaders know what is possible and see that the crowds are still drawn to His influence.
So they pray for the “boldness” they will need to face each coming day.
Boldness to speak when the opportunity arises.
Boldness to act when the circumstances allow.
Boldness to care at all times for all people.
Boldness to carry out the mission He gave them – “you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
They have just had their first encounter with the religious leaders. And they walked away unscathed. They know this could be a one-time miracle – and the next time there could be (serious) physical repercussions.
So they need boldness – to act according to God’s purposes and not worry about the consequences of man.
And God hopes we will pray the same thing. God hopes that we will give more concentration to His leading and His purpose than to our fears, our anger, and our sorrows. God hopes that we will give more concern about His will and His plans than our comfort, our convenience, and our cares. God hopes that will give more consideration to the power He has flowing through us and around us than our weaknesses, our limitations, and our disabilities.
So pray for boldness. To follow God, wherever He may lead. To obey God, whatever He may ask. To be available, whenever He needs you.
And just as He answered the disciples’ prayer for boldness – “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (31) – so too will He answer you!
Marie Fremin. 5/19/19