And now, Lord, consider their threats, and grant that Your slaves may speak Your message with complete boldness, while You stretch out Your hand for healing, signs, and wonders to be performed through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak God’s message with boldness. (Acts 4:29-31 HCSB)
These guys had just come from spending the night in jail for healing a man without permission. They were released under serious threats. They had seen what can happen when the powerful get agitated by the activity of people they decide they don’t like. So they turned to prayer and literally extolled God for the work He had already done and the work that He wanted to do. They asked God for that cool reserve under pressure. And they received a literal earth shaking response.
After Jesus was arrested he stood before the Governor and remained quiet:
Then Pilate said to Him, “Don’t You hear how much they are testifying against You? ” But He didn’t answer him on even one charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed. (Matthew 27:13-14 HCSB)
Just arrested, badly beaten and thrown at the feet of the governor, Jesus felt no need to defend himself. This amazed the governor. Most accused would argue for their freedom but Jesus was calm and in control, even when it appeared that he was not in control.
What’s in common among these two stories. Both find their strength and power though prayer. Jesus was not just cool in this storyline. He was composed and set in his destinity. The night before Jesus had spent agonizing in prayer asking His Father if there was any other options. He was not cool and collected there. He was in agony. But when the time came and God had not give an option 2 for Jesus, he instead provided him with the cool resolve that Jesus walked to the cross with.
The Disciples, likewise faced dire circumstances and found themselves rattled. They too turned to prayer and the result was courage that carried them forward without fear but instead they were greatly enboldened.
Believers talk a lot about prayer but we need to see and embrace its practice. That act of connecting to God gives us the power to walk though the most harrowing of difficulty and the strength to face our fears and overcome them daily. We also need to pray for a boldness for evangelism. We are deterred in our generation with the fear of possible ridicule. So many men and women in the bible stood up to that kind of ridicule and pressed on without fear.
Father, Teach me to be more diligent about connecting to you in prayer. Help me to find strength, not in what I can figure out, but in time with you spent discovering your will and strength.