Sometimes I Don’t Pray Boldly

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I want to talk about seizing the life God has planned for us

Too many believers play it safe and never seize real life

Last time we were talking about boldness and we learned… I hope we learned that:

BOLDNESS is behaviour born out of belief

In other words: If you believe in a powerful and sovereign God then you will be bold in your life as a disciple of Jesus

Today let’s look at boldness as it relates to prayer

Key thought: How you pray reflects what you believe about God

Key insight: Most of us need the spiritual gift of spunk

The first night I was in the nation of Moldova I was asked to speak at a local church’s prayer meeting (unscheduled)

125+ people in one very cold room (coats and gloves on) praying out to God for their nation and for souls

For Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey (church plants)

They had the gift of spiritual spunk

Spunk = Courage, determination, doggedness, resolute, guts, grit, gumption, backbone, fortitude, spark, spirit

They prayed with boldness

Boldness born out of belief in a powerful, living, loving, caring Father God

That was a powerful prayer night and you see in Like 11:5-10 where a has a visitor late in the evening and is a little embarrassed because he has no fresh bread

So, he goes to his neighbour and wakes him up so that he can borrow some bread from him to feed his guest and be hospitable

His neighbour tells him to get lost as it is late and he is in bed trying to sleep

But because he is persistent and determined the neighbour gets out of bed and gives the bread

Jesus uses this story to tell us to “ask – seek – knock” and we will receive

In Moldova it was like we were invading heaven

In Moldova it was like “no” is not an acceptable answer

In Moldova the feeling was we will keep at it until we have God’s attention and we know that He actually heard us

In the book of Acts – chapters 4 and 5 – we see that the early church also had this spiritual gift of spunk…

They prayed with extreme boldness

Key thought: 

What you pray for reflects what you believe about God

What you don’t pray for also reflects what you believe about God

If you don’t pray at all — You don’t believe God wants to help and be involved in your life

What you don’t pray for reflects what you believe about God

If you pray very small prayer all the time — Probably reflects that you don’t believe that God answers big prayers

What you pray for reflects what you believe about God

If all of your prayers are about you – bless me, help me – then you believe God is there to serve you

What you pray for reflects what you believe about God

If you pray for things that simply could never happen without God’s involvement then you believe in a powerful, miracle-working God who wants to be involved in the life of His people

What you pray for reflects what you believe about God

Our language when we pray reflects what we believe about God

Are we: Asking, begging, pleading, rejoicing, thanking, commanding…

Is our tone in prayer passive, aggressive, hopeful, expectant?

In Matthew 11:12 Jesus reminds us that “the violent take the Kingdom by force”

The timing of our prayers shows us what we believe about prayer

In tough situations where you have done all that you know to do and nothing changes … you then say: “Now all we can do is pray…”

If prayer is your last resort – reflects what you believe about God

The results of your prayers can also be an indication of what you believe about God and prayer

So, I have been asking myself a series of serious questions …

What is different in my life today as a result of what I prayed this week?

What is different / what has changed in the lives of my family and friends as a result of what I prayed this week?

What is the difference in the world today as a result of what I prayed this week?

If God answered everything you prayed for last week what would be different in the world today?

If we were being honest — If I was being honest — I would have to admit that very little changed because of what I prayed for this week

        • In my life
        • In my family
        • In my relationships
        • In my neighbourhood 
        • In the world

WHY?

I believe it is because I (maybe we) don’t pray bold prayers

Bold prayers like …

    • Please use me to bring someone into the Kingdom this week
    • Help me to be a powerful disciple-making believer
    • Please help ______________
    • Please use me to help those trapped in human sex trafficking to be set free
    • Give me a plan to bring those in my neighbourhood into the Kingdom 
    • Pray that all the gifts of the Spirit be released and be visible in my life this week
    • What role do you want me to have in changing the world for you?

If God answered everything you prayed last week 

What would be different in the world today?

If we want to really make a difference in this life and where we live we are going to have to learn to pray some really bold prayers

LAST TIME:

We were looking at Peter and John and how they were living a bold life as a result of their encounter with the living Jesus

Peter preached boldly – calling the people a “corrupt generation” and 3000 were born into the family of God

First sermon – never did this before – really had no lessons in sharing the Gospel … totally relying on God — Faith  / Believing in a big, powerful God

Peter comes to a lame man – born lame – and lame for 40 years and boldly says: “Rise up and walk”

First healing without Jesus being physically with them …

They are faced with a temple trial and possible death by stoning as they stand before the board of the temple church 

The Sanhedrin is very upset

The members of this governing body circle them – 70 men – and hurl accusations and questions at them

“What Name and whose authority?”

Answer: Full blown boldness

“In the Name of Jesus (a bold add-on) whom you crucified”

The religious rulers would have loved to imprison or kill them but could not because everyone had seen the miracle of a lame man walking

The people would have started a riot if Peter and John were killed or sent to prison

So Peter and John were beaten and released with the warning to no longer preach in the Name of Jesus

Remember – we are talking about being bold – boldness

They are released

They go to their local house church and report the details of what happened to the people gathered

Acts 4:23-31 As soon as they were freed, Peter and John found the other believers and told them what the leading priests and elders had said.  Then all the believers were united as they lifted their voices in prayer: “O Sovereign Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – you spoke long ago by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor King David, your servant, saying, ‘Why did the nations rage? Why did the people waste their time with futile plans?  The kings of the earth prepared for battle; the rulers gathered together against the Lord and against his Messiah.’  “That is what has happened here in this city! For Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate the governor, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were all united against Jesus, your holy servant, whom you anointed.  In fact, everything they did occurred according to your eternal will and plan.  And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give your servants great boldness in their preaching.  Send your healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”  After this prayer, the building where they were meeting shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. And they preached God’s message with boldness.  

“They lifted their voices together” in prayer to God!

Power is released when believers come together and cry out in faith to God in bold prayer

Listen to what these early believers prayed:

Sovereign Lord – you are the man and you are in charge

This is God-centered prayer and not about ‘me – mine – myself’

God did not need to hear that He was sovereign

“O yes – thanks, I forgot about that”

They were “posturing” themselves

Reminding themselves that God is supreme, able, powerful and totally in charge

Then they prayed boldly – and we need to pray boldly as believers and as a church because we believe that God is all powerful and still in charge of the church and is still active in our world

How you pray reflects what you believe about God

If we are going to make a difference in the world we cannot pray wimpy, lukewarm, half-hearted, culturally-sensitive, politically-correct prayers

Absolutely not – never!

We need to pray bold prayers

We need to pray boldly

As fully devoted disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ we are to live boldly and pray boldly in the Name above all names – the Name of Jesus!

The early church in the portion of Scripture we are looking at prayed two bold prayers

Acts 4:29 And now, O Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness”

Now that is a bold prayer:

1> ENABLE US TO SPEAK YOUR WORD WITH GREAT BOLDNESS 

Help us to be bold when we speak and share

Listen – looking at this objectively – this is what got them arrested the first time

And yet here they are praying for more boldness

The wise and practical thing to do:

Lay off this public Jesus thing for a while till things cool down a bit

Lay low and play it safe 

Pray for protection and that you could continue to work in secret and not in public

But, remember: How you pray and what you pray for reflects what you believe about God

QUESTION: Have you ever prayed for serious boldness?

Most people I ask – the answer is “no!”

Again: How you pray and what you pray for reflects what you believe about God

LET’S BE HONEST: 

      • Most of our prayers are fairly timid
      • The vast majority are self-centered
      • Many of them do not challenge God in the least
      • Few of them challenge us personally in any way

BUT, Here is what I discovered…

When you pray for boldness – wow!

Things happen

God answers: you get bolder and God moves

THEN when you pray for others – the Kingdom – the Church – salvation of lost souls – whole nations

The Spirit of God moves and things happen

On a Monday in the nation of Moldova … end of a long week and a terrifically long Sunday

➢ Asked to speak to the 12 staff members of a local church

Obvious they wanted me to pray and prophesy and not just teach

I am tired – my interpreter and other team member is sick and barely able to translate for me

The leader boldly announced we would prophesy over every staff member 

And boldly prayed for us to be healed and strengthened – new energy, clarity, and insight

And a very powerful moving of the Spirit was experienced by all of us 

Two and a half hours later it was done – every staff member received a powerful prophetic word that had depth and detail

We need to be praying for boldness

But remember, you may end up praying for someone in the isles of Walmart next to the cat food

We need to pray for boldness

      • Give me supernatural boldness in my daily life and relationships
      • Stir me up and keep me from being comfortable
      • Give me eyes to see needs of those I work with and boldness to pray
      • Give me a heart that is seriously sensitive to those who are hurting
      • Let me see people the way you see them
      • Open the door to sharing your love and the Gospel every day

Peter and the entire house church … They prayed for increased and powerful, supernatural boldness

We need to be praying for a substantial increase in personal boldness

And boldness as a local church

1> SPEAK BOLDLY

2> THE SECOND THING THEY PRAYED FOR – PRAYED BOLDLY FOR… POWER TO HEAL AND WORK MIRACLES, SIGNS, AND WONDERS

Acts 4:30 Send your healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.

They prayer a big, bold prayer…

      • Heal the sick
      • Raise the dead
      • Help us to cast out demons
      • Do miracles, signs and wonders through us

God want us to make a massive difference in the world … 

God wants us to be world-changers …

And, when you want to respond to this challenge and calling then you will need to pray big, bold prayers

If you want to make a big difference in this world – pray big bold prayers

BECAUSE: What you pray for reflects what you believe about God

Small prayers = small God

Most people’s regular type daily prayers are fairly tame and often all about “me – my – mine” and seldom give the Lord a challenge

God is asking us to pray for things that will show off His presence and His power

Pray for things that cannot happen unless God literally becomes involved and intervenes in supernatural ways

My point:

What you pray for reflects what you really believe about God

Joshua prayed and the sun stood still

Sometimes we pray and the sun sets

But this does not change the nature of God and should not change how we pray and what we are believing God for

HERE IS WHERE OUR FAITH NEEDS TO BE…

Our faith in God must be big enough and strong enough that we can and do ask Him for something and our faith is so strong that we can handle God saying “no”

I understand, know and believe that He is sovereign God and He not only knows best but is in charge

So, I simply pray boldly…and give God an opportunity to SHOW UP AND SHOW OFF should He so wish to do

MARK 16:20 “And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.”

For God to show and show off we need first to stand up and step out in faith

So, we need to pray big and bold prayers… because we have an awesome and powerful God and Heavenly Father

The Bible states:

Matthew 9:29b “Because of your faith, it will happen.”  

The level of your faith in God and who He is determines what He is released to do

What we pray for reflects what we believe about our God

Matthew 19:26b “With God everything is possible

So, let’s decide today to begin to pray prayers that are much bolder than those we are currently praying 

Allowing God to show up and show off

God wants us to pray big and bold prayers

Because what we pray for reflects what we believe about God