Pray For Empowerment, Not For Favor

  1. Message: In Acts 4 Peter and John were taken before the priests for questioning about the paralyzed man that was healed. They asked them “under what power, or under what name” this man was healed. They wanted to punish them in the hopes of putting a stop to the spread of the gospel but they recognized that the people believed and they themselves knew that the healing was undeniable. The healed man was standing right there with them and everybody knew him. I find it sad that even though the priests recognized that something beyond the power of man was happening, but they were not willing to let go of their earthly position and the privileges that came with their status. Instead they chose to threaten Peter and John in the hopes of slowing down the spread of the gospel. Peter warned them that their obedience to God was higher than their obedience to any priest or governor. What really caught my attention here is that when they left, Peter prayed and it wasn’t the kind of prayer you would expect. He wasn’t praying for favor, or for deliverance of this hardship. He prayed for more boldness to continue on doing the will of God and the work of the father. He didn’t look at it as an obstacle that needed to be removed in order for him to obey. He accepted the challenge exactly as it was and asked God to give him what he needed to continue.
  2. Command: Accept the circumstances and ask God for empowerment.
  3. Promise: God is faithful to give us exactly what we need when we walk in obedience.
  4. Warning: When we do the will of God, people and circumstances will try to disable or discourage us.
  5. Application: This chapter encouraged me so much when I saw the way Peter prayed. He accepted the circumstances exactly the way they were, and he didn’t blame anyone or ask God to change them in order to make his life easier. This reminded me of all of the things in my life that I have been praying so fervently for God to change, but it challenged my motives for praying for the change of other people. I should pray for change for their own benefit, but as for making my own life easier or better, this is something I absolutely have to ask God to change in me. My obedience to God can’t have any dependence on what someone else is or isn’t doing, and if there are hinderances or obstacles, my prayer is that God would give me the boldness, endurance, wisdom and motivation to push through them in order to obey God. Peter did not see himself as a victim, and he didn’t feel sorry for himself or blame the men who were trying to oppress him. Truly they were not after Peter personally, they had an agenda to stop the spread of the gospel. Peter recognized this and he knew that God would empower him to do what he needed to do.

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