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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 50

Prayers of Intercession continued...

Acts 4:29-31, ‘“Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.’ And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”

The third thing we can intercede and pray for on behalf of the shepherds and overseers of God’s house is boldness. Contrary to popular belief, boldness is not a byproduct of your upbringing, it is not something you nurture in yourself from early youth, it is not something that comes from one’s own will and fortitude, but rather it comes from the Holy Spirit.

No, growing up on the mean streets won’t make you bold in speaking God’s word, being disciplined as a child will not increase your boldness, nor will having played with guns or knives in one’s youth.

The servants of God prayed for boldness in the Bible, because they knew where boldness came from. They knew that God gives boldness by way of the Holy Spirit, and as they were being persecuted and threatened, as they were being commanded to keep silent about Jesus and His having been raised from the dead, the faithful gathered together and prayed for this supernatural attribute they would need in order to preach the word of God effectively and fearlessly.

Intercede on behalf of the true shepherds, intercede on behalf of the true overseers, and pray God grant them boldness to preach His word, and His counsel.

When God gives us boldness, we can no longer be intimidated by threats, or fearful of the recriminations and retaliations leveled against us by the enemy and his minions.

We see the outcome of prayer, the end result of these individuals having gathered together in supplication to God, in that the place where they were assembled together was shaken, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

God answered their prayer. They prayed for boldness to speak the word of God, and God gave them the boldness they prayed for.

Once again we are witness to the humanity of God’s servants, some perhaps being timid, others being outright cowardly, but their desire to be pleasing in the sight of God compelled them to pray for that which they did not possess, it compelled them to pray for boldness, that they might go about fulfilling the calling to which they had been called.

If we know we are deficient in a certain area, whether it be boldness, ability to accurately articulate the message we desire to deliver, eloquence, presence, cadence, or any of a number of things that goes into speaking the word of God effectively, pray, ask God to cause you to overflow in the area you are lacking, give you an abundance of what you might be short on, and He will be faithful to do it for you, just as He did for those in the book of Acts.

It is the same God, with the same omnipotence, with the same promises, with the same love, and the same tender heart for His beloved. Why wouldn’t He do for us as He did for those of the past?

If you begin to feel as though your spiritual overseer just doesn’t have the boldness to say the things he ought to say in a straightforward manner, always hinting at things but never coming out and saying them boldly, then pray for God to give them boldness to speak His word directly, succinctly, and unambiguously.

Men of God lead busy lives. Whether one is a shepherd, a preacher, or in ministry, life is one long, arduous, and ongoing juggling act, moving from one project to another, being called upon to perform certain duties at any given time, and trying to carve out a few moments with their family with some semblance of regularity. Due to their schedule, many an overseer forgets to pray for themselves because more often than not midnight is well past before they get through all the prayer requests from those they serve, answer their correspondence, read their Bible, and kiss their spouses goodnight. As such, it is the duty of the sheep, and those they serve, to intercede on their behalf, and pray for them, and plead for them, and petition God for them.

Yes, I have a soft spot in my heart for ministers, preachers, evangelists, and overseers in general, because many of them go unappreciated, scorned, maligned, and ironized, until exhaustion sets in, and that which they ought to have been doing with gladness of heart, becomes a chore and a burden to them.

I realize the following may hurt for some, but it is nevertheless true, the sheep often times make shepherding a burdensome chore, rather than a joyous undertaking. Whether it’s sheep acting more like goats than the sheep they ought to be, or sheep making a hobby out of undercutting, undermining, challenging and denigrating the shepherd, these things weigh heavy on a leader’s heart, and they begin to leech him of his strength and desire to go about his calling.

Few things feel worse in this life, than seeing someone you know you did your best to help, and counsel, and lead to green pastures, stab you in the back, spit in your face, and pretend as though you don’t exist. I’ve been there. I speak from experience. Enough said.

Even Moses needed Aaron and Hur to hold up his hands when he grew tired. Be an Aaron, Be a Hur, be someone who will hold up the man of God when he is exhausted, rather than chuckle when he faints, and trample him underfoot. God will see, God will hear, and God will reward accordingly.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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