We’re reading Acts in family worship and today we read a prayer that the first group of Christians prayed after having been threatened to stop preaching the gospel.
they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant,said by the Holy Spirit,
“‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’
27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servantsto continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
Did you see what they prayed? They didn’t ask the Lord to remove the threats, or to protect them, or to keep them or their children safe. All they asked was that they would continue to obey in light of the threats against them.
For months I have been praying, “Lord, please let the baby sleep tonight.”
Tonight, after having the prayer from Acts bouncing around my head all day, I am convicted to pray, “Lord, please give me the strength to be obedient to you even when the baby doesn’t sleep.”
It’s certainly a harder prayer, made more so by my tendency toward the heresy that all a problem really needs is for me to learn the right lesson and then it will immediately be solved. As if God is in heaven with a level chart and as soon as I complete all the required tasks of a quest he bumps up my avatar and starts the next level of sanctification. The story of Acts is certainly not helping that presupposition either. They prayed for boldness in the face of persecution and got both boldness AND persecution. I am praying for strength, while still hoping for sleep, and thanking the Lord that He has even the number of hours of sleep prewritten before the foundations of the world.