What Do You Pray For?
Every time I read Acts chapter 4 I am drawn to the same passage over and over. In Acts chapter 4 the persecution is beginning for the disciples. After Peter and John heal a lame man they are arrested and are told to stop preaching the name of Jesus. They are released and they go back to the rest of the disciples to tell them the story and to have a prayer meeting…yes, unfortunately this is not likely to be our plan today. We would surely tell the story but then we are more likely to figure out how to sue someone or how to make sure we don’t get arrested again…perhaps even posting something really nasty about the police on Facebook! But they have a prayer meeting.
But it is what they pray for that leaves me so breathless. Here is a part of what they say: 29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. I think God liked this prayer. Please note that they never prayed for protection. In fact, I can’t find a single time in the New Testament where any believer prays for protection or where God is asked to protect him/her. In Paul’s prayers for the Ephesians, the Philippians, for Timothy, in all of his opening and closing comments to people who were being persecuted and killed…never a prayer for safety or protection.
As I’ve frequently said, my personal safety is not at the top of God’s agenda for my life. I want to pray for boldness…I want to pray for wisdom and knowledge. I’m no longer praying for “protection and safety” for travelling. If that means you don’t ask me to pray before a trip, I’m OK with that. If you want to pray for safety, that’s fine. But today, I’ve decided that my prayers are no longer going to be for things that I can’t find that were important enough to write in the Bible. As I write this I’m smiling…I’m not grumpy or angry or anything like that. I’m a little frustrated at myself for being too focused on myself…my safety and blessing…so as far as praying for safety, I’m out. Praying for boldness…I’m in…Anybody with me??