Daily Devotion, 4/03/18, Acts 4:1-31 “Bold Prayers”
“And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word…After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4:29, 31 NLT
You can learn a lot about people by listening to how they pray. Some people ask God for blessing. They want their homes to be better, their jobs to be better, their lives to be better and they want God to do all the heavy lifting. Some people ask God to make the world the way they think it ought to be. They pray for their candidate to win, the right weather for their plans and that person they’re arguing with to come to their senses and see it their way. A lot of people pray for life to be easier…less pressure, less resistance, less hassle from people making their lives difficult.
Look at how the disciples prayed. After getting arrested for preaching about Jesus and knowing even more persecution was on its way, they didn’t pray for their lives to be better or for things to go their way or for things to be any easier. They prayed that God would help them be brave. They prayed for courage. They prayed for boldness.
There’s a revolutionary insight you need to pick up on in the disciple’s prayer and that is that most of the time it’s not the world around us or the people around us that God most wants to change, it’s us. We keep asking God to fix situations; He wants to fix us. We keep asking God for a life that’s easier; God wants to make us stronger instead. The disciples knew that the pushback they had just received was just the beginning. Soon there would be wave after wave of persecution. If God made this first wave easy, they wouldn’t be prepared for the next wave so they didn’t ask for easy. They had the courage to simply ask for courage.
What do you pray for? Have you found yourself getting frustrated with God because He hasn’t been giving you what you’ve been asking for? He cares about the “daily bread” needs of life and He enjoys meeting all of your needs “according to His riches in glory” but you may be primarily praying for the wrong thing. Maybe you’ve been praying for God to change people but what God wants to change your heart toward them. Maybe you’ve been praying for God to bless you but God wants you to become a blessing to others. Maybe you’ve been praying for God to make your life easier but God wants to make your faith stronger. Remember that God cares far more about your character than He does your comfort. Pray first for Him to forge you into all He needs you to be to accomplish what He has called you do in this season. When you do that, you will see God move in power just as the disciples did. You are loved!