After Peter and John were picked up, examined, and threatened by the authorities for preaching and healing in Jesus’ name, they gathered with their friends to report what happened. Not only did they relay the events, but they also prayed together.
When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard it, 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, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,
“‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’—
for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 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 4:23-31, ESV)
Their prayer is astounding. It is unlike most prayers heard in the American church. It is deeply theological, and it is asking for something most churches aren’t – boldness.
Boldness is a term lost in today’s church. Social and political pressures, along with the radical secularization our country is undergoing, weighs heavily on today’s church. Instead of pushing back, the church is caving under the pressure. The gospel is changed to accommodate current thought when it should be the other way around.
Increasingly, the boldness to stand on biblical principles is fading in the church.
Instead of taking a stand, we are attempting to do what can’t be done – accommodate to the culture.
Accommodating to society and remaining faithful to the gospel is impossible.
The early church knew accommodation wasn’t possible. As well as they knew opposition was inevitable. It was apart of God’s plan. Rather than avoid it by catering to the rulers and elites, they asked the Lord to strengthen them to be bold witnesses. May that be our prayer today.
Questions for Reflection
- Do you pray for boldness?
- Are you catering to societal pressures or are you standing strong?