by Dr Barry Chant, ordained minister in CRC Churches International, speaker, author and founding president of Tabor College
To pray for the Word of God to spread and for miracles to happen.
“They lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them … The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed … to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.
And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:24-31).
Those indomitable pioneer Christians of the Early Church faced attacks more vicious and cruel than we do today—so far. We are already confronted by similar opposition from some quarters, in principle if not in practice.
When threatened by the authorities, they refused to be intimidated, but turned to God in prayer.
First, they addressed God as Sovereign. Whatever was happening, they reaffirmed that he was in control. They recognised that although Herod and Pilate and others had teamed up against Jesus, this was no surprise to God. In fact, it was all part of his purpose.
Second, they asked God to consider the actions of their enemies. Were they looking for sympathy? No. Quite the opposite, these resolute followers of Christ prayed that they would continue to speak God’s Word with courage and boldness. The term they used implies courage, openness, frankness and freedom. In other words, they prayed for the toughness to go on doing the very thing that was already getting them into trouble—to proclaim openly the Word of God.
Interestingly, this is exactly what happened. They did continue to speak God’s Word (Acts 4:31) and did so every day (5:42). Whereas we would be likely to talk about the Church or the Kingdom expanding, Luke reports that the Word continued to increase (Acts 6:7). It expanded and multiplied (12:24). It “continued to increase and prevail mightily” (19:20).
Third, these intrepid disciples prayed for more miracles. Ironically, it was a miracle that had brought persecution upon them in the first place—when a crippled man walked again. Now they asked for more of the same! And God answered them (5:12). In fact, the very place where they prayed was shaken and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.
Here is a model of prayer for us today. To pray for boldness to speak the Word of God and for God to work miracles, by the power of the Holy Spirit. One miracle we certainly need through the preaching of God’s Word is for the Holy Spirit to convict people of their sin and of the power of righteousness (John 16:8-11). We need to see Christians everywhere taking their faith seriously and being filled with the Holy Spirit. We need to see a dramatic change in the thinking of many of our nation’s leaders and tens of thousands of people rising up to reaffirm the truths on which this nation was built.
Sovereign Lord, thank you that your purpose is unshaken and that nothing takes you by surprise. Please look upon the challenges we face and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus (Acts 4:24-31, adapted).
Watch Bold Faith Quiet Trust – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-xn-JefX5I
Canberra Declaration Daily Prayer Points for October
- A Miracle for Marriage
- Truth to be Exposed
- A Spirit of Repentance in the Church
- Revival and Transformation in our Nation
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