The Believers Prayed for Boldness
Acts 4:29-31 “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.” After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
The Bible shows us that we can pray for boldness. And, we should! Paul asked the church at Ephesus to pray for him for boldness.
This great man of God, said, “Praying always . . . for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth BOLDLY, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak BOLDLY, as I ought to speak” (Eph. 6:18–20). And so, let us pray together.
Spiritual Warfare Prayer for Boldness
Today, Oh loving Father, I will step out in faith and not fear. I will boldly profess the victory in my life. I will not let shyness get the better of me.
Break every chain, Oh Lord, that hinders my confidence, in not only myself but also in You, the Everlasting Father.
Ephesians 6:19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given to me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.
Acts 4:29 “And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence.”
Today, I proclaim with boldness that I am healed and set free by You, my faithful King. I know I can depend on You, for You always stand by Your word.
Help me to build my confidence as I draw near to You. Teach me to spread Your message boldly across the land and to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Hebrews 13:6 So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
Here are some more spiritual warfare prayers:
- Prayer against the spirit of blockage and barriers
- A Prayer To Let Go and Let God
- Prayer to overcome Anguish and attacks of the enemy
Praying to Remove Fear
Allow the fear to just drift away and let the doubt flee. Restore my bravery to stand in front of crowds and minister to Your people, if it be Your will.
Restore hope and love and peace in my land today. In Jesus’ loving name, I pray that the boldness that I long to have will arise. Amen and Amen.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
“ also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
– Ephesians 6:19–20
As an apostle, Paul may have been tempted more than other Christians to believe he could go it alone, that just he and Jesus together were enough to get the job done. In one sense, this would have been true. Jesus is the friend “who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24). Even if all others desert us, Christ never leaves us or forsakes us, sustaining us by His Spirit in the most difficult circumstances (Heb. 13:5–6). Yet in another sense, we do not face the world with only Jesus beside us. The circumstances in which absolutely everyone might abandon us are few and far between, and God has redeemed us in union with other believers (Eph. 2:11–22). For all the church’s faults, we often do a good job of sticking together, supporting one another as we walk under the shadow of death in service to our King.
Having just finished an epistle on the nature of the church, Paul was well aware of this fact and humble enough to request prayer for himself while he was in prison. He asks for intercession in today’s passage, specifically exhorting the Ephesians to pray for his boldness in proclaiming the “mystery of the gospel” (Eph. 6:19–20). This gospel was the reason for his chains, and if, as is likely, Paul wrote Ephesians sometime during the imprisonment recorded in Acts 28:11–31, his specific requests are understandable. After all, the apostle to the Gentiles was about to go before the most powerful man on earth in his day — the caesar. Due to the intimidating pomp of the Roman court, it would have been tempting even for him to avoid speaking the truth boldly. Paul, never a foolish man, needed all the spiritual help he could get in fulfilling the call to preach to the emperor. He needed others praying with him that he might wear the armor of God (Eph. 6:10–20).
Finally, the apostle’s reference to himself as an “ambassador in chains” indicates the radical difference between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdoms of this world. None of Paul’s pagan contemporaries would have referred to themselves in this way, for to imprison an ambassador from another nation would have embarrassed the ambassador, the sender, and the country hosting the diplomat. But Christ, who humbled Himself for our sakes (Phil. 2:5–11), sends lowly ambassadors on His behalf — ambassadors who may have to suffer greatly to announce His reign.
Again we note that, just as in Colossians, Paul does not request in today’s passage to be released from prison but for more ministry opportunities (Col. 4:3–4). This is a model for us. It is, of course, not wrong to ask the Lord to alleviate our suffering. Nevertheless, perhaps the first thing we pray for should not be the end of our pain, especially if it is for the sake of the gospel. Perhaps we should first pray for God to use our suffering for His glory.
Passages for Further Study
The comparison of two prayers for boldness, as recorded in Acts 4:29-30 and Ephesians 6:18-20, presents an interesting and profitable study. The former was uttered by the company of believers in Jerusalem, with the twelve apostles, at the time when Israel was still God’s commonwealth (Eph. 2:12; Rom. 3:1-2; 9:4-5). They were citizens of God’s Nation. The latter was uttered by Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles, some thirty years later, after salvation had come unto the Gentiles through the fall of Israel (Rom. 11:11). Paul’s prayer is the prayer of an ambassador in a foreign land.
Let us note the prayer in Acts 4:29-30, reading with it verse 31: “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done in the name of thy holy child (or servant) Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the Word of God with boldness.” Certainly their prayer was quickly answered.
Peter and John had already demonstrated boldness as recorded in Acts 4:13: “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus”—that is, with Jesus in resurrection. This fourth chapter of Acts records the beginning of persecution against the believers in Jerusalem by Israel’s rulers, and tells of the first experience of Peter and John in jail for preaching Jesus as the resurrected Messiah of Israel.
All Christians today certainly need boldness to speak the Word of God. We need to be much in prayer for such boldness. But have we the Scriptural right to pray the same prayer recorded in Acts 4? Some Christians will say “No,” but when asked “Why not?” they remain mute. Others seek to duplicate those signs and the result is a system of pseudo-signs and fanaticism.
The other prayer, or request for prayer, for our comparison is found in Ephesians 6:18-20: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”
Isn’t it strange that Paul, also an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ and a prisoner in Rome, did not pray as did Peter, John and the others that the Lord should give him boldness by stretching forth His hand to heal and that signs and wonders might be done in the Name of the Lord Jesus? In fact, he did not ask for prayer for miraculous deliverance from his bonds, but declared emphatically that he was an ambassador in bonds.
Paul, in one of his earliest epistles, had spoken of boldness. In I Thessalonians 2:2 we read, “But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you (Gentiles) the gospel of God with much contention.”
There had been a time when Paul’s ministry, too, had been accompanied with signs. Read Acts 14:3, “Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the Word of His grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.” These signs were not a part of that ministry, but only accompanied it to prove his apostleship and to provoke Israel to jealousy (II Cor. 12:12; Rom. 11:11; I Cor. 14:18-22). But in just the previous chapter Paul had waxed bold to declare something which was most unusual. “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, it was necessary that the Word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles” (Acts 13:46). In the next chapter he declared that the Lord had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles (Acts 14:27).
Paul also used the word “boldly” in a very important sense in Romans 15:15-16, “Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly (see verse 4) unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, that I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.” He was bold to go to the Gentiles through the “fall” or “stumbling” of Israel, and to write that which was not according to the prophetic Word. He was bold because he had received his commission through the revelation of Jesus Christ (Gal. 1:1,11-12; 2:2,7-9; Eph. 3:1-9; Col. 1:24-29).
Between the prayer of the disciples in Acts 4 and the request for prayer by Paul in Ephesians 6 there had elapsed a period of time of about thirty years. These were very important years, as the foregoing Scriptures have revealed.
The Lord had permitted Israel to “diminish” and to “fall” (Rom. 11:11-15). He had concluded them all in unbelief that He might have mercy upon all, so that there might be reconciliation for all the world by the blood of the Cross in the Body of Christ which is the true Church.
While the Lord was still in relationship to Israel as a nation He gave the disciples signs which they had a right to expect (Acts 2:19). They were not then called ambassadors in the sense in which Paul is called one, but were in the midst of their own nation, which was still God’s Nation. He had answered the prayer of His Son on the Cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Webster’s dictionary defines an ambassador as “an accredited representative of a sovereign or state at the court of another.” With the setting aside of Israel and its alienation from God with all the rest of the world, Paul became a true ambassador for Jesus Christ. Every believer today as a member of the Church, which is the Body of Christ, is also an ambassador (II Cor. 5:14-21).
We certainly need boldness as a representative of Him in the court of another. Satan is the god of this world (II Cor. 4:4). But being blessed with “all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ” surely transcends “all signs and wonders” to give us boldness to speak the mystery of Christ. Surely Paul’s petition for boldness should be ours. And we can expect the same treatment Paul received in a hostile world. But how much greater was the two-fold boldness of Paul to that of the twelve! His boldness was two-fold in that first he was bold in the face of even prison and death, and second that he was bold to preach that which was not prophesied in the Old Testament Scriptures, but was revealed by the risen, but rejected Christ to him. Let us all pray for his boldness “to make all men see what is the of the Mystery, which from the beginning of the hath been hid in God.”
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A Prayer for Christian Boldness
By Alistair Begg
“Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do” – Philemon 1:8
Heavenly Lord, as we start this New Year, please give us the boldness to follow you in all things. Let your spirit lead us into the future.
The Christian will be sure to make enemies. It will be one of his objects to make none; but if doing what is right and believing what is true should cause him to lose every earthly friend, he will regard it as a small loss, since his great Friend in heaven will be even more friendly and will reveal Himself to him more graciously than ever. You who have taken up His cross, don’t you know what your Master said? “I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother . . . And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.”
Christ is the great Peacemaker; but before peace, He brings war. Where the light comes, the darkness must vanish. Where truth is, the lie must flee; or if it remains, there must be a stern conflict, for the truth cannot and will not lower its standard, and the lie must be trampled underfoot. If you follow Christ, you will have all the dogs of the world yelping at your heels. If you live in such a manner as to stand the test of the last judgment, you can depend upon it that the world will not speak well of you.
He who has the friendship of the world is an enemy to God; but if you are true and faithful to the Most High, men will resent your uncompromising commitment, since it is a testimony against their iniquities. You must do the right thing and not fear the consequences. You will need the courage of a lion to pursue a course that turns your best friend into your fiercest foe; but for the love of Jesus you must take your stand. To risk reputation and affection for the truth’s sake is so demanding that to do it constantly you will need a degree of moral principle that only the Spirit of God can work in you. Do not turn your back like a coward, but play the man. Follow boldly in your Master’s steps, for He has made this rough journey before you. Better a brief warfare and eternal rest than false peace and everlasting torment.
Dear Lord, please equip me with the courage to love my enemies and repent for my faults. Give me courage to take the path that might mean making enemies our of friends, but ultimately brings me closer to you. Help me find willingness to risk reputuation all for Your sake. Help me love you more than anything or anyone on this earth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Editor’s Note: The following is an abridged version of Follow Boldly by Alistair Begg. To read the full article, follow this link.