What to Pray In the Midst of Persecution​?

Man Looking Up At Stars

In this post, we continue our discussion on prayer. This post is a four-part series on praying with boldness through problems.  The emphasis today is praying to the Creator of the Universe.

In Acts, chapter 4, the church and Christ’s disciples are being persecuted and harassed.  After one final and futile attempt to intimidate and silence the apostles by the Sanhedrin, they were released. Peter and John returned in the Greek to “…their own (people).” We do not know the number of individuals counted, but it was not the entire church which now consisted of 5,000 men. The two reported all that had happened to them and all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.

The first response of this group of believers was a bit unusual. They immediately turned their attention to Old Testament Scriptures, which referred to God as the Creator of all.  It is interesting the way the believers dealt with this persecution.  How they handled their problems I pray will give us insights on how to address our problems.

They Praised God as Creator.

That is an acknowledgment that God is in control of all things.

When I am feeling weak and overwhelmed by the troubles ahead of me, I don’t need a bigger version of myself to rely on. I need a smaller version of me and larger version of my God.  I need to come to grips with the truth that I may not be able to control things happening all around me.  So I need to raise my voice to the heavens and know and believe that there is a living, Almighty and powerful God who will come to my aid and work on my behalf!  I need a Creator-of-the-Universe size, God.

Hear the praise dripping from the lips of those who experienced this Creator-of-the-Universe size, God.

“When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,

‘Why did the Gentiles rage,

and the people’s plot in vain?

The kings of the earth set themselves,

and the rulers were gathered together,

against the Lord and against his Anointed.’

For truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.[1]” Acts 4:23-24

Oh, give thanks that God is God! When we pray, we should pray that the Holy Spirit would give us a bigger view of who God is. He alone is God.  God has no equal.  He takes a backseat to no one, and nothing is impossible or too difficult for Him! After all, he made the heavens and the earth.  Is there anything our God cannot do? That was the point the believers were making.  That is why they went back to the Old Testament.  Back to where it all began to remember just how powerful and impressive, our God is.  The creator God reminds us that He is in control of all things because He created all things.

September 11, 2001, is a day that is still too fresh in most of our minds. I remember that day feeling small and insignificant. There was this feeling of being “out of control.” One man who had no control over his world that day was Stanley Praimnath. Little did Stanley know when he prayed for his family that morning just how much he would need the blood of Jesus to cover and protect him. Stanley worked on the 81st floor of Tower #2 as a vice president for Fuji Bank Limited. He was at his desk on the phone when he saw the second plane coming straight for him. What can you do in the face of certain death? He jumped under his desk as the aircraft crashed into the building. The plane was burning just twenty feet away from him, but God miraculously helped Stanley and another man make it down all 81 flights of stairs before the building collapsed. Stanley knew that he was powerless to do anything, but God was in control and spared his life. He said, “…it was the handiwork of the Lord that turned that plane. My Lord Jesus is bigger than the Trade Center, and His finger can push a plane aside!”

The psalmist David knew what it was like for his life to be out of control. David’s enemies were trying to murder him. Was David overcome with fear? Was he paralyzed by his attackers? It all goes back to the idea that God is the maker, the creator, as these verses remind us:

  He is the one who made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He is the one who keeps every promise forever.  Ps. 146:6

 O LORD Almighty, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth. Is. 37:1

David had learned that in the same way he had once cared for his sheep keeping the lion or bear from attacking and destroying the flock that God would watch over his children. David rested in the confidence that God was in control.

 

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Ac 4:23–28). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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16 thoughts on “What to Pray In the Midst of Persecution​?

  1. Even when we pray with confidence, sometimes we don’t get what we ask for. It can be confusing and discouraging. We have to trust that His plan is better, even when we can’t see it. This is something I have been working through since experiencing the loss of a close loved one 11 months ago.

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