How the church prayed when it was threatened.
It appears that once again the church is under a constant threat from
secular and religious sects that exclude Christianity with an antiChrist agenda. I direct your attention to a time in the early church
where the church was under the constant scrutiny of the totalitarian
government of Rome and the anti-Christ spirit of the Judaism.
The Threat - Acts 4:13-30
“The council members were astonished as they witnessed the bold courage of Peter and John, especially when they discovered that they were just ordinary men who had never had religious training. Then they began to understand the effect Jesus had on them simply by spending time with him. Standing there with them was the healed man, and there was nothing further they could say. So they ordered them to leave the room while they discussed the matter. Among themselves, they said, “What should we do with these men?
Everyone in Jerusalem can clearly see that they’ve performed a notable sign and wonder—we can’t deny that. But to keep this propaganda from spreading any further among the people, let’s threaten them severely and warn them to never speak to anyone in this name again.” So they had them brought back in before the council, and they commanded them to never teach the people or speak again using the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “You can judge for yourselves—is it better to listen to you or to God? It’s impossible for us to stop speaking about all the things we’ve seen and heard!” Since the members of the council couldn’t come up with a crime they could punish them for, they threatened them once more and let them go. All the people praised God, thrilled over the miraculous healing of the crippled man. And the man who received this miracle sign of healing was over forty years old.
The Church Prays
As soon as they were released from custody, Peter and John went to the other believers and explained all that had happened with the high priest and the elders. When the believers heard their report, they raised their voices in unity and prayed, “Lord God, you are the Lord of all! You created the universe—the earth, the sky, the sea, and everything that is in them. And you spoke by the Holy Spirit through your servant David, our forefather, saying: ‘How dare the nations plan a rebellion, ranting and raging against the Lord Most High? Their foolish plots are futile! Look at how the kings of the earth take their stand, with the rulers scheming and conspiring together against God and his anointed Messiah!’ “In fact, Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with Jews and non-Jews, met together to take their stand against your holy servant, Jesus the Messiah. They did to him all that your purpose and will had determined, according to the destiny you had marked out for him. So now, Lord, listen to their threats to harm us. Empower us, as your servants, to speak the word of God freely and courageously. Stretch out your hand of power through us to heal, and to move in signs and wonders by the name of your holy Son, Jesus!”
EIGHT THINGS TO CONSIDER
1. LIFT UP YOUR VOICE AND RECOGNIZE GOD AS GOD.
2. RECOGNIZE WHAT HE HAS DONE.
3. RECOGNIZE THAT THEY PRAYED THE PRAYER OF FAITH.
4. RECOGNIZE THE PLACE WAS SHAKEN AND THEY WERE ALL FILLED WITH THE FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST.
5. THEY SPOKE THE WORD OF GOD WITH BOLDNESS.
6. THE MULTITUDE WERE OF ONE HEART AND OF ONE SOUL.
7. THERE WAS A TOTAL UNSELFISHNESS AMONG THEM.
8. THERE WAS GREAT POWER AND GREAT GRACE WAS UPON THEM.
By Hardie Weathers