Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus. (Acts 4:29-30)
Prayer is much more than asking God for things. Sometimes we get into a bad habit of thinking that if we don’t ask God to do something, we aren’t really praying. But prayer can be and should be rich with praise, thanksgiving, declaring the glory of God, listening to God, enjoying His presence, humble worship, and more.
While prayer is more than asking God for things, it isn’t wrong to ask our Father in heaven for His help, guidance, empowering, and blessing! In Acts 4, the disciples of Jesus had a prayer meeting after Peter and John had been threatened and released when the appeared before the religious council. In their prayer the honored God, gave Him glory, and prayed the Scriptures. Acts 4:29-30 tells us what they finally asked for.
The disciples asked God to look on their threats. “Lord, look at the powerful men who oppose us. They seem to have every advantage, but we are safe in You, as long as you will look on their threats.
The disciples asked God for boldness. “Lord, we want to be more bold – not less! The council wants us to be so afraid of their threats that we won’t talk about Jesus. We don’t want to be afraid of them, so please give us boldness.”
The disciples asked for boldness to speak God’s word. “Lord, our message is not ourselves or even our story. Give us boldness to proclaim the best message we can – Your word.”
The disciples asked that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus. “Lord, all this trouble started with a miracle at the temple. Please do more of those kinds of miracles!”
All of these requests were consumed with God’s cause and glory, not with the comfort and advancement of the disciples. The disciples prayed for things that would lead to more confrontation and trouble, not less.
I don’t know if I have ever really prayed, “God, please send me more trouble.” I usually pray that God would take my troubles away! But I want to have the heart that these first disciples of Jesus had. They cared more about the glory of God and the souls of men than they cared about their own comfort and ease. If God could work through their trouble to His glory and to bring more men and women into the kingdom, they wanted God to send more trouble!
I don’t expect you to pray, “Lord, send more trouble.” But today, you can pray this: “Lord, I need Your boldness to speak Your word and I want to see You do great things. If that means more trouble, so be it!” Let’s pray like these early disciples.