"Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: "If we this day are judged for a good deed done to
a helpless man, by what means he has been made
well, "let it be known to
you all, and to all the people of Israel,
that by the name of Jesus Christ of
Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God
raised from the dead, by Him this man
stands here before you whole. "This is
the 'stone which was rejected by you
builders, which has become the chief
cornerstone.' "Nor is there salvation in
any other, for there is no other
name under heaven given among men by which we
must be saved."
- They did not go into an emergency strategy session to plan their response.
- They did not seek out the "Judean Center for Law and Justice" to handle their case.
- They did not seek reparations for defamation of their character
- They did not demand their rights
- They did not picket the temple
- They did not form a Political Action Committee to help get their own folks on the Sanhedrin.
- They did not do most of the things that evangelical Christians do today when persecution arises.
What they DID DO is explained in verse 24:
"So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God ..."
They prayed. That's it. When persecution and threats came, They just prayed. But notice that this was not a lame little "now I lay me down to sleep" prayerette. These folks got hold of the throne of God. Notice a few important aspects of their prayer:
- They raised their voice to God.
- They prayed in a spirit of unity
- They gave glory and honor to the Father
- They prayed the scripture
- They recognized the fulfilment of prophecy
- They acknowledged that God knew of their plight
- They prayed for boldness that they may proclaim His message
- They prayed for the power of the Holy Spirit
- And they asked it all in the name of Jesus!
Now here is the best part of the entire narrative to me. Did God hear that prayer?
"And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness."
What do you think?
Now in closing, consider this. They did not pray for retribution. They did not pray for the persecution to go away. They did not pray for victory over their enemies (that was already accomplished by Jesus). Christ had long before warned them that the world system hated Him and it would hate them also.
So they simply prayed for boldness in the face of persecution.
Perhaps we are missing the mark in 2009. There is a power failure among Christians today. It results from our own feeble efforts to combat evil in the public square, when what we NEED is a renewed filling of the Holy Spirit and a boldness to proclaim the Gospel of Grace in the face of the Enemy. Government won't do it. Charitable organizations can't do it. The Gospel of Christ will change lives - for time and eternity.
I don't know about you, but I am praying for a renewed Spirit Filled Boldness to proclaim Christ, and the anointed power to do so on every possible occasion.