Notice this prayer of the early Church that links prayer and evangelism: “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, . . . 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” (Acts 4:29, 31).
Chris Schofield made a vital point about this passage. “The prayer for ‘boldness’ (from parrhesia), which has already been associated with the apostolic witness in 4:13, is significant in at least two ways. First, notice that the apostles are not seeking revenge or the end of the opposition but rather courage and freedom of speech. Second, they were seeking this boldness that they might proclaim the gospel. . . . Their motive was centered on God’s redemptive work.”
Another key passage is Ephesians 6:18-20. Paul followed his discussion of the armor of God with a request for believers to pray for bold proclamation of the gospel. Prayer is seen as an indispensable part of the armor of God. Praying “in the Spirit” refers to prayer “in the presence, control, help, influence, and power of God’s Spirit.” Paul exhorted the Ephesians to pray for “utterance,” or parrhesia, an openness to preach the gospel, the same expression translated “boldness” in Acts 4:29, 31. Paul was in prison as he wrote these words, asking for courage to share Christ. Certain truths emerge from these two chapters, Acts 4 and Ephesians 6:
- Boldness to proclaim the gospel is a legitimate request to bring before God.
- Such boldness comes only from God. It cannot be “worked up.”
- Such boldness comes through the prayers of God’s people.
Holy Spirit, continue to empower your people, the Church, to speak boldly within a culture that so vehemently opposes the Truth. Teach us to pray in Your “presence, control, help, influence and power” for the sake of Your redemptive plans and purposes on this earth! Give me the courage to continually pray for boldness, that the proclamation of Your gospel may be given through my mouth and through the demonstration of my life lived well for Jesus!
–Adapted from Chapter 63 of Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Prayer and Evangelism) by Alvin L. Reid. This resource is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.
Praise the Lord your God, who “goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deut. 31:6). Thank God for his presence in your life. Confess times when you think that just a little more money would make you even more content in God’s presence (Heb. 13:5). Commit yourself to wanting what you have, rather than scrambling to have what you want. Ask God to simply supply your needs and to give you contentment with his choices.
Pray that you can teach your children or grandchildren to be generous with their time and money. Involve your friends’ children in joining you to participate in acts of love such as giving new and used toys to a battered women’s shelter.
“Love to pray—feel often during the day the need for prayer, and take trouble to pray.” Mother Teresa
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