Peter and others pray for courage
23As soon as Peter and John had been set free, they went back and told the others everything that the chief priests and the leaders had said to them.24When the rest of the Lord's followers heard this, they prayed together and said:
Master, you created heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them.25And by the Holy Spirit you spoke to our ancestor David. He was your servant, and you told him to say:
“Why are all the Gentiles
Why do people
make foolish plans?
26The kings of earth
prepare for war,
and the rulers
against the Lord
and his Messiah.”
27Here in Jerusalem, Herod and Pontius Pilate got together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel. Then they turned against your holy Servant Jesus, your chosen Messiah.28They did what you in your power and wisdom had already decided would happen.
29Lord, listen to their threats! We are your servants. So make us brave enough to speak your message.30Show your mighty power, as we heal people and perform miracles and wonders in the name of your holy Servant Jesus.
31After they had prayed, the meeting place shook. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and bravely spoke God's message.
Imagine you adventured alongside Peter and John in the first century. Jesus spoke with you after his resurrection. You were there when Peter and John healed the broken body of a poor beggar in Jesus’ name. But that healing created such an uproar that you were jailed by authorities and told never to speak about Jesus again. You decided to disregard their warning, take the risk, and obey God instead.
Now you are with Peter and John telling the whole story to friends. How do you think they would react? Concern for you? Fear of the authorities? Awe at God’s power and character? Luke takes us into the room and gives us a front row seat. The tight-knit, Christian community’s first response was prayer.
Their first concern was God’s mission. The full scope of God’s great rescue operation was becoming clearer. There was a battle going on and they were God’s ambassadors. Healings and wonders were signs that God was establishing his kingdom in a disobedient world before their very eyes. Your job: invite the world to return to God. That requires bold faith. You begin to pray for courage to proclaim God’s message of salvation “in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and everywhere in the world” (Acts 1:8).
That mission has not ended. It has expanded. God has gone global. And one day, as scripture promises, the kingdoms of this world “will belong to our Lord and to his Chosen One! And he will rule forever and ever!” (Revelation 11:15)
What role do you have in that mission? What opposition do you face? Is it with “the authorities” in your context or with the “spirit of the age?” Pray for wisdom to discern God’s will and work in your sphere of influence. Surprising things can happen!
Lord, you promise your power and presence to all who face opposition in your name. Guide my steps to your purpose for my life. Fill me with your Spirit to be a faithful ambassador to a world that needs your love. In the name of the risen Jesus. Amen.