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Focussing on God's purpose

I was reading Acts 4 which from verse 23 to 31 tells how Peter and John return to their companions after being questioned by the Sanhedrin and report everything that had happened to them (Acts 4:23). Having heard the report, the church immediately called on the Lord in prayer.

Considering what they had been through and the threats they had received(v. 21), we may well have expected them to seek God for comfort and protection. We may even have expected them to ask God for understanding that they would now – faced with such adversity - have to “tone things down” a little. After all, their lives and the lives of their families were at stake.

These men and women of God, however, focus their prayer not and themselves and their situation, but on God and His purpose. They begin by proclaiming that their Lord is God, the Creator of all things (v. 24).

Next they focus on God’s purpose in sending His Son Jesus to die on the cross. They understand that their own suffering is merely an extension of the persecution suffered by the Son of God himself. He had repeatedly warned them that they too would be hated by the enemies of God (Matt. 10:24-25; Jn. 16:1-4). Mindful of this, they pray not for their own comfort, but for boldness to continue doing what they know to be their calling as followers of Jesus: preaching His word.

Finally, they ask God to stretch out His hand to heal through the name of Jesus as a confirmation of His word. As soon as they conclude their prayer, the place shakes by the power of God and the Holy Spirit comes upon them, granting them boldness to proclaim Jesus irrespective of all persecution.

What an amazing seven verses!

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