In the fourth chapter of the book of Acts in the Bible, a remarkable prayer for boldness to speak God’s word is recorded that we can use as a model today.

Background of the Prayer

Prior to this prayer, Peter and John had been jailed overnight by the religious authorities.   The two had performed a sensational miracle in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth by healing a cripple who stood to his feet and followed them through the temple courts “walking and jumping and praising God.”  Peter then preached a sermon that converted many and roused the anger of the religious rulers.

The day after their arrest Peter and John were brought before the leaders and asked, “By what power or what name did you do this?”  Peter began preaching to them Jesus as the Christ.  The leaders could not refute the miracle because the healed cripple was standing there with them.  So they commanded that Peter and John “Not speak or teach in the name of Jesus.” (see Acts 4:18 NIV)

Peter and John replied boldly, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God.  For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”  (Acts 4:19  NIV)

When Peter and John arrived back with the believers and told them what had taken place the Bible says, “When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God.”  (Acts 4:24 NIV)

The Prayer

Sovereign Lord, you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.  You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David, ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?  The kings of the earth take their stand against the Lord and against his Anointed One.’  Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.  They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.

Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.  Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant, Jesus.  (Acts 4:24-30 NIV)

The result of the prayer

The Bible tells us that after the prayer “the place where they were meeting was shaken.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”  (Acts 4:31 NIV)