“Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.” — Acts 4:29
With the threats of the religious rulers lingering over them, Peter and John return to their church family and report what has happened. And in response to these threats, the community of believers prays together to God.
I am always struck by what they did not pray. They did not ask God to bring destruction on the religious leaders. They did not ask God to take them out of their time of trouble. Instead, they prayed that God would consider the threats against them and enable them to speak with boldness. That prayer was specifically answered as the Holy Spirit filled them and the place they were in was shaken.
How could the believers come to pray such a prayer? The prayer itself gives us the insight that they looked not just to the moment but also surveyed the history of God’s people. They knew the promises and prophecies of God. They placed their current situation within the setting of Scripture. For us, that would be like having the Bible’s teachings in mind as we sift through the daily news.
What’s more, at the beginning of their prayer, the believers put all their troubles and threats in perspective under the umbrella of God’s sovereignty. They knew that God was still in control. What they prayed was that they would be able to keep being witnesses to the Sovereign Lord, who was still at work in the world he so loved.
Dear God, in a world full of turbulence and trouble, give us the hope and trust that you are still at work. May we join you in that work with boldness and joy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.