PRAY THAT GOD WILL BE GLORIFIED
Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.
~ Acts 4:29 (NIV)
In Acts chapter four, Peter and John have been released from prison after many threats from the authorities. They return to the church and report. The church goes to prayer. But the remarkable thing is that they do not pray for protection but for boldness. We know God was pleased with their request because after their prayer the place in which they were meeting was shaken. Filled with God’s Spirit they spoke the word of God boldly.
Four hundred Christian young people attended a three-day prayer conference in the mountains of northern Iraq in the summer of 2011. Six busses full of Christians came from violence-ravaged Baghdad. For the Christians from the south of Iraq, where persecution, kidnapping and bombs are a daily reality, the conference was like refreshing water. For three days they didn’t have to worry and enjoyed being together with hundreds of other young believers in freedom. Christians from Baghdad, Mosul, Kirkuk, Basra and other cities came to the Open Doors sponsored meetings.
Behind the podium hung a huge banner with the theme of the conference. As waters cover the sea, the glory of God will cover the earth.
“That is the dream of God for Iraq and this world,” said one the worship leaders, “and that should be our dream.” Referring to the difficulties in the country he continued, “Tell in the middle of trouble about your hope, about God’s dream. Know that in the middle of the heat, fruit ripens. God is preparing us for the harvest.”
Many times during the conference, speakers referred to the persecution in the country and in other parts of the Middle East. Some of the churches lost many members during the last few years in Iraq. Due to the violence, Christians fled from the south of Iraq to the north, the Kurdish region or even to other countries. “Know that the church in Jerusalem was small too, but it changed the world,” the speaker encourages the young believers.
One of the pastors said, “With this Arab Spring we’re living in a very special time. We believe this is an historic conference. In the coming months big things are going to happen in this region. Focus on God; focus on His kingdom and God will do the rest.”
Another speaker shared an experience from Egypt. “December 2010 and the beginning of January 2011 we had 40 days of fasting and prayer for Egypt in our church in Cairo. God said to us that what He was going to do would be awesome.” Everyone knows what happened after that in Egypt.
“That was God’s interference in history!” He expressed the way many Egyptian Christians saw the events of January 2011. “Ask for the impossible and it will happen,” he said. “Pray for His desire. Look what happened in Acts when the church had a hard time. They did not ask for their own protection, they asked to glorify God’s name.”
RESPONSE: Today I will pray that my circumstances and challenges will ultimately glorify God’s name.
PRAYER: Thank You Lord for boldness You give Your church in the midst of threats and violence.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.