“And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou [art] God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.” – Acts 4:23-30
Peter and John were threatened not to speak in the name of Jesus after healing a man who was lame from birth, (Acts 3:1-9; 4:13-22). They went back to their fellow believers (the church) and prayed as you could see from the above scripture. We can learn three things from their prayer.
- They first acknowledged who God is by giving Him all the glory, (Acts 4:24). This is very important because you need to be calm and acknowledge that God is supreme and has all the power.
- They acknowledged that God is in control, (Acts 4: 25-28). God is in control over every situation, including the current situation you are in. Nothing happens without His knowledge.
- They asked God to empower and embolden them to speak the Word of God, which they were threatened for, (Acts 4:29). The apostles and disciples were called to preach the message of salvation through Jesus Christ, so they knew that they couldn’t do it without the power of God. When they were threatened, they asked God for strength to do the work. They did not ask God to destroy the rulers, scribes and elders of the temple.
Now, examine your prayer life and that of the church you fellowship with. What do you pray for when challenges, problems and persecutions arise? Do you pray for your enemies to die or you pray for strength like the early church did? The early church was successful because their focus was on God and pleasing Him. Praying for your enemies to die so that you can be free has never been prayed for in the New Testament. I am absolutely sure that it is not the will of God for you to pray for the destruction of your enemies, because Jesus asked us to “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you“, (Matthew 5:44). This is a model prayer of the early church worth emulating.
May God help us with how to pray and our prayers!