Talk about no good deed going unpunished, Peter and John spent the night in the pokey for healing a lame man, in the name of Jesus. They sit through a stern lecture and return home and join in the ongoing ‘Prayer Meeting’. Rather than praying “Whew, that was close!” they pray “Sovereign God … grant your servants to speak your word with boldness.”
I have been challenged to add this brief prayer to my daily devotions. ‘Boldness’ does not mean rudeness or loudness, but rather fearlessness. Too often through fear I resist speaking of Jesus and all that he means to me. The fear can be that I will not have adequate words, or that I may be asked a question I cannot satisfactorily answer or that I will strain a relationship.
Let me address this latter fear. My fear might come because I misunderstand boldness for inappropriate and careless speech. The same Peter from our story elsewhere advises that we speak “with gentleness and respect”. He sees no contradiction between the two ideas. As I share my beliefs and experience with those who may not share them, I give them an opportunity they might not have had to consider Jesus, and he is certainly worthy of consideration. If my friend does not immediately and gladly receive Jesus, they have not rejected me. Fear of this kind of rejection is simply based on wrong thinking!
I am finding that adding this simply prayer to my routine does several things. It makes me sensitive to opportunities. I sometimes realize in the moment and silently re-pray the prayer and ‘step up’, or I recognize my failure in retrospect and repent. It also gives me a sense of anticipation each day, as I wonder what encounters lay before me each day. It shakes me from a complacency in my faith life.
It amazes me at the dividends a five second investment prayer can bring!
I have also been challenges to intentionally add my proximate neighbours into the neighbours I am to love. I take a few minutes each day to lift them to God in prayer including any specific needs I might be aware of, but also praying that I might be able to be a ‘good neighbour’ and ambassador.
These two small additions add so much value to my day! I highly recommend them. A couple of small additions to your prayer can have an outsized impact on your life. Give it a try.