Praying for boldness
I wrote this for my church newsletter:
“When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.” Psalm 138:3
In Acts 4:29 we see the believers praying after Peter and John have been released from a night in jail. “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness” and the answer in v.31 “After they prayed … they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly”. While this is the only recorded prayer for boldness there are about six other occasions in Acts when we read that someone, mostly Paul, spoke the word of God boldly, which suggests that maybe this was something they prayed on a regular basis.
Yet it seems that we don’t pray for boldness very often. It is quite a scary thing to pray, especially when we see how promptly God answered. Boldness will help us to initiate conversations about the Lord and put us in situations where we are asked about our faith. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that your have” 1 Peter 3:15.
Nevertheless it is not God’s intention to overwhelm us and He will teach us, “little by little” like He taught the Israelites when they took possession of the land. “Little by little I will drive them out before you until you have increased enough to take possession of the land” Exodus 23:30.
So boldness, like wisdom (“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, …” James 1:5), is something we can regularly pray for ourselves, and others as we seek to be God’s witnesses.