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Wednesday (11-21-07) Prayer 38 - The Church's Prayer for Boldness

Read First:
Acts 4:23-31

Hear It! Acts 4

The background of this prayer begins at Acts 3. Peter and John were on the way to the temple to pray, and healed a lame man. Though there was much rejoicing and excitement among the people, the Jewish religious leaders arrested Peter and John and put them in jail. The next day, the leaders realized that they had no legitimate charge by which to hold them, nevertheless they tried to silence their preaching of Jesus, the claim of the resurrection from the dead and further spread of any news about the miracles of healing. Peter and John, of course, did not agree to this silence and affirmed that they would obey God, not men.

What Can We Learn?
1. Although we call this a prayer for boldness, in reality it is a prayer that results from boldness in Peter and John. This prayer might be more appropriately called a prayer of praise, but it does contain a specific request for confidence to speak the word.
2. vs 24 — The prayer begins with a statement of confidence in God. Any confidence we may develop to speak the word boldly begins here.
3. vs 25-27 — Much of these verses is a quote from Psalm 2. They recognized that opposition to Jesus and the plan of God was fulfillment of Messianic prophecy.
4. vs 28 — Literally, the text refers to what “the hand of you and the plan of you sets bounds before to become. ” They had some sense that even the ungodly leaders actually helped bring about God’s will.
5. vs. 29-31 — They asked for boldness to do their part knowing that God would do his part.

Questions to Ponder
1. Discuss the ways and reasons that so many things come back to the foundation of God as creator and sovereign over the universe.
2. How do Paul’s words from Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can be against us,” echo the idea that the raging of God’s opponents do nothing but accomplish his will?
3. Read the following verses: Acts 2:4; 4:8; 4:31; 9:17; and 13:9. Discuss the meaning of being “filled with the Holy Spirit.”
4. Read Eph 5:18. In what way(s) might this apply to us today?
5. In what way could the request in vs 29 (for God to take note of the threats by the rulers) be something of a veiled imprecatory prayer?
6. Why do you think these Christians believed they needed boldness?
7. Why didn’t they just depend on God to keep working miracles?
8. Why were there physical manifestations at the conclusion of the prayer?

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