A Prayer for Strength

Download the PDF Study Guide

Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges!

~ Acts 4:19

The believer’s life isn’t always an easy one. In Acts 4, Peter and John are thrown in prison for proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus. Only for one night, but being arrested is still being arrested. When morning came around, they were released, but not until after they were threatened and commanded not to teach God’s Word.

Have you ever thought God was calling you to do something,  but then the results made you question that calling?

Often times we want to think that if it’s God’s will, it will go smoothly. That He will bless it and we will shine.

But that’s not what Peter and John experienced.

Instead of second guessing their calling, they gathered together and prayed with other believers that God would give them strength to keep going.

I admire their faith and dedication, but not their situation.

I don’t want to be thrown in jail for proclaiming Christ, and I pray that if it does ever come to that, that I will be able to stand faithfully as these two men did so ever long ago.

Let’s take a look at their prayer:

“Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:

“‘Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
    and the rulers band together
against the Lord
    and against his anointed one.’

Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.  They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.  Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” (Acts 4:24-30 NIV)

There is so much in that prayer.

Praise for who God is and what He’s done (vs. 24-25).

They prayed Scripture (vs. 25-26).

They told God what had happened (vs. 27), and confirmed that it was God’s will — that He is sovereign (vs. 28).

And then they asked Him to strengthen them, and enable them to fulfill their calling and bring Him glory (vs. 29-30).

But my favorite part of that prayer is actually what happens after the prayer in verse 31:

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

They came before God, and God listened.

I love that God answers prayers, don’t you?

These were Christians who made a difficult decision to stand up for their faith and live lives that honored God, but they knew they needed His help.

We will face trials as Christians, as people in general. But if our God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

My encouragement to you this week is not to let hardships or trials keep you from doing what God has called you to do.

For if we are trying to please men, we aren’t servants of Christ (Gal. 1:10)

Psalm 18-32 -NIV

(Psalm 18:32 is my current memory verse for SSMT)

 

Reflection Questions

  • Have you ever had to choose between listening to (or pleasing) someone on earth, or to do what God has called you to do? What did you choose?
  • What is something you need God to strengthen you for?
  • There are many things we can look to for strength. What are some of the earthly things you look to (now or in the past)?

Take it Deeper

  • Look up the following Scriptures: Isaiah 40:29-31; Romans 8:31; Psalm 18:32; Psalm 73:26; Isaiah 41:10; Philippians 4:13
  • Download the PDF Study Guide
  • Join the conversation! Share one or more of your answers to the reflection questions in the comments below.

 

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Previous posts in this series

Study announcement

What is prayer?

The Lord’s Prayer

The Humble Prayer

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