Showing posts with label persecution. Show all posts
Showing posts with label persecution. Show all posts

April 22, 2021

Praying for boldness

 

As the early church faced persecution, Jesus’ followers could have asked to be spared suffering or harm to themselves, but they did not. Instead, this Bible prayer from Acts shows the first Christian asking for boldness to speak God’s Word and bring the good news of Christ the Savior to people everywhere. May we, too, pray to be bold in ministering healing and making peace in Jesus' Name.

 

Acts 4:29-30 – a prayer of Jesus’ followers

from the King James Version

 

And now, Lord,

behold their threatenings:

and grant unto thy servants,

that with all boldness

they may speak thy word,

By stretching forth thine hand

to heal; and that signs

and wonders may be done

by the name of thy holy child Jesus.

 

From the Book of KJV Prayers - actual prayers from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV) collected by Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2019 
 

 

Acts 4:29-30 – a prayer of Jesus’ followers

in contemporary English

 

Lord, can You hear how

they’re threatening us?

 

Please help us to speak Your word

with courage, Lord.

 

Show Your power!

 

Bring healing!

 

Perform miracles for us!

 

Amaze everyone with the authority

found in Jesus’ Name.

 

From the Book of Bible Prayers – actual prayers of the Bible collected from a variety of translations researched on Bible Gateway then paraphrased into everyday English by Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2019.

July 1, 2013

Stephen prays for his murderers

Background: As the early church greatly grew, people from diverse backgrounds had to find ways to connect with the Body of Christ. Since Jesus and the Apostles belonged to the Jewish faith, the church began as part of the Temple and local synagogues, which meant that the early Christians had to discern whether to keep Jewish rituals, customs, and traditions or openly welcome peoples from the Hellenist (Greek) community.

God made it clear that all peoples who accepted Jesus as their Savior were to be included in the Body of Christ. Nevertheless, Christians from the Greek community felt they weren’t being given as much as Jewish Christians, so they complained to the Apostles in Jerusalem.

Wisely, the Apostles advised the Hellenist Christians to select seven Spirit-filled men with good reputations to be in charge of food distributions and other acts of service. Stephen, one of the seven, had so much wisdom and power that he caught much attention, including negative attention that jealousy brings. With false witnesses ready to speak against him, Stephen was seized, charged falsely, and called before the High Priest to defend himself, even though his name and position indicate he came from the Hellenists.

Regardless, Stephen knew the Torah well. Beginning with Abraham, whom he called his father in the faith, Stephen proceeded to show how the Law and the Prophets pointed to Jesus as the Messiah. He did not stop there, however, but went on to accuse his accusers of killing “the Righteous One.”

This did not go over too well! When the council heard these words, they became enraged:

And, Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, saw into Heaven.
He saw the Glory of God.
He saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
And he said, Behold!
I see Heaven opened!
I see the Son of Man
standing
at the right hand of God.

And the men cried out with a loud voice
and they stopped up their ears
and they rushed toward Stephen
as one,
and they cast him out of the city,
and they cast their coats and their cloaks
toward a young man named Saul,
and they stoned Stephen to death,
but before he died,
Stephen cried out:
“LORD Jesus, receive my spirit!”

And Stephen fell to his knees
and, in a loud voice, said:
“Oh, LORD, please
do not hold this sin against them.”

And that day,
Saul approved
of the way Stephen was treated.

And that day,
persecution began
to sway the people one way or another,
scattering all – but the Apostles –
in Judea and Samaria


like seeds sown,
like new seeds sown.

©2013, Mary Harwell Sayler prayer-a-phrased today’s Daily Bible Reading in Acts 7:54:60-8:1.

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