Faith Matters - Current Posts

Friday, August 3, 2007

Praying for Boldness, Not Deliverance

When you go into your boss’s office to ask for a raise, you don’t walk in the door and say, “I need more money!” You start out by telling him what a great boss he is. Even more so with God we should begin our prayers with respect – remembering who God is and what he’s already done.
When Christian friends were praying for Peter and John after their release from prison, they began their prayer by acknowledging the greatness and power of God. Then they asked, “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
We can learn a lot from the way they prayed. Amazingly, they didn’t pray for the problem to go away. I think I would have been inclined to ask God to exempt them from further persecution. Instead, they prayed for boldness in talking about Jesus, even though that would actually defy the law and get them in more trouble. They weren’t praying for deliverance from their problem, but for boldness to represent Jesus well in the midst of the problem. They ended their prayer asking God to perform healing and other miracles. Their prayer wasn’t to defeat their enemies, but to do acts of compassion and kindness.
The lesson for us is to ask God for strength more than for a solution. More important than having God eliminate our problems is asking God to make us bold and strong through the problems we face.

Related Scripture: Acts 4:29-30

© 2007 Leith Anderson

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Friends That Pray

When Peter and John were released after having been imprisoned for preaching the gospel, they went straight to a gathering of Christian friends who were experienced veterans in praying for others. Listen to how these friends prayed: “Sovereign Lord, you made the heaven 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.” Note that they started their prayer by acknowledging God, not by asking for protection for Peter and John. They acknowledged that he is the Sovereign Lord who created the universe; he’s the God who revealed himself in the Bible; he’s behind what happens in history.
Their prayer continued, “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.” In other words, King Herod of Israel and the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate conspired to kill Jesus, but God was in the background using their decisions to accomplish human salvation through Jesus’ death on the cross.
So, what's the point of all this? Their prayer acknowledged that God is the Lord of creation, revelation and history. He can do absolutely anything – including protecting Peter and John from the angry religious leaders. This declaration bolstered their faith that God could handle the problems Peter and John were having. God had done it before and God could do it again.

Related Scripture: Acts 4:24-28

© 2007 Leith Anderson

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Where Would You Go First?

Winston Churchill said, “There’s nothing quite so exhilarating as being shot at and missed.” That might have been the feeling of Jesus’ disciple Peter, when he was arrested, put in jail and then miraculously released. An angel appeared to Peter, loosened his shackles and led him out of prison past the sleeping guards. The Bible tells us that as soon as he was released, Peter “went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.”
You may have never heard of this mother named Mary, but probably you’ve heard of her son. His name was John Mark, although he is usually known simply as Mark. He was the author of the second book of the New Testament called “The Gospel According to Mark.” He was a man whose mother raised him in a house that was famous for prayer. This mother named Mary had the go-to house in Jerusalem for Christians who had problems and needed prayer. I’m sure she was a marvelous Christian mother as well as a trusted Christian friend to many.
So my question to you is, where would you go first if you were just released from jail? Who would you go to and who would you ask for prayer if you faced the biggest problem of your life? Can you think of someone? We all need to cultivate godly friends who will understand and who will pray to God on our behalf. It’s a wonderful thing to have a relationship with praying Christians we can turn to in times of crisis.

Related Scripture: Acts 12:12

© 2007 Leith Anderson