Why do the nations conspire

    and the peoples plot in vain?

The kings of the earth rise up

    and the rulers band together

    against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,

“Let us break their chains

    and throw off their shackles.” Psalm 2:1-3

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. Acts 4:29-30

Acts 4 concludes the story of the first inkling of persecution against the early church. Peter and John have been arrested and threatened, and now the church needs to reckon with it. In their prayer they both acknowledge the powerlessness the forces arrayed against them ultimately have, citing Psalm 2, and they pray for boldness.

If you read back through Acts this may be surprising, since it looks like the believers have been pretty bold the whole time! They’re certainly not hesitant to share the gospel, meet with one another, or act in the power of the Spirit. And yet, they still ask. Sometimes we need to ask for boldness when we feel we have none, and sometimes we need to ask for the boldness to continue in a path we know is right, but is difficult terrain all the same. The disciples were in the latter camp. Which one are you in?

Is there a part of your Christian walk that seems difficult or even impossible to you? Maybe you feel the struggle to continue walking faithfully when resolution to your situation seems far off. Perhaps the weight of the world seems too discouraging. Pray the believers’ prayer from Acts 4 today and ask God to renew your strength.

By Jessica Rust

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