Read Acts 4:13-31
If you do something nice for someone, the last thing you might expect is to land in prison. But that is exactly what Peter and John had experienced. They healed a man who had never taken a step in the more than 40 years of his life. That sounds to me like something that should be rewarded, not punished. Nevertheless, they spent the night in jail.
The trouble arose after the healing. Peter and John paused to give credit where credit was due. As they pointed to Jesus as the source of salvation and healing, eyebrows went up and prison doors went closed.
Jewish leaders wanted to nip this in the bud. What could they do to prevent things like this from continuing? They recognized Peter and John as Christ followers, and there was no denying the miracle that had taken place. The best response the religious leaders could come up with was commanding Peter and John “not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.” (Acts 4:18)
So, if you are Peter or John, how do you respond to that directive? First of all, they refused to remain silent. The message of Christ had been something they experienced in the very core of who they were. It had given life to them and they knew that it would give life to all who believed. That raises an important question for us. How committed are you to the communication of that message? Does it burn within you such that you have to share it?
But Peter and John gave a second response. They gathered others around them and prayed. This was not a “rescue/protect us” kind of prayer where they cowered in fear. No, this prayer acknowledged that this was to be expected. Such opposition had been prophesied in the past (Ps. 26). Christ Himself had experienced it. Who were they to expect immunity from the kind of hostility their Savior had suffered? So, their primary request was that God would take note of the opposition while giving them courage to continue to boldly proclaim the gospel.
We still experience antagonism today. Do you have realistic expectations? It really shouldn’t surprise you. Are you more concerned about freedom from opposition or about the bold proclamation of the message? Do your prayers reflect that?
21 DAY PRAYER CHALLENGE
For the full challenge, go here!
Day 18: Pray for our country
Read 1 Timothy 2:1-3 and Proverbs 21:1. Pray for the decision makers in our lives. God is all-knowing and all-powerful. What do you want to see God do in the hearts of our nation’s leaders? Write a prayer to God to give them wisdom, discernment and the ability to lead our country well.