Be Bold | Charles Auld
The Believers Pray
23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
“‘Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord
and against his anointed one.’
27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
31 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 believers’ response to Peter and John’s release was to pray a fervent prayer to God, thanking him for being the ‘Sovereign Lord’. They weren’t at all cowed by threats of imprisonment and worse, because their faith was rooted in the firm belief that God was overall in control. He would fulfil his plan to bring humankind back into loving relationship with him and so they simply asked to be given boldness to play their part in that plan.
When we are surrounded by critical or indifferent voices, in the media, at work, even in our own families, we can be disheartened in our faith. Wilting under pressure, we can sound apologetic about what we believe. It can help to remember that Christianity is based on evidence. If we were serving on a jury, we would be presented with evidence by both sides and would need to come to a conclusion based on the facts. When it comes to helping someone to decide about Jesus, we can produce written evidence about his life, his death on a cross and his resurrection. They need to come to their own conclusion about it.
When Frank Morison set out to do just that, intending to prove that Jesus had not been raised from the dead, he ended up with the opposite conclusion and wrote a compelling book: ‘Who moved the stone?’
Like those early believers, we can take heart in God’s unshakeable purpose for his creation. Just as they did we can ask him in our own words to ‘enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness’. And then take the plunge, and boldly talk about our faith when the opportunity arises.