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Proclamation Accompanied by Power

There is a beautiful prayer in Acts 4 after Peter and John’s persecution. It is obvious that the traditions that use Collect prayers took the form straight from prayers like this.

“Sovereign Lord, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them… look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

In the intervening words, there is an example of David’s Psalm and an affirmation that Jesus is the fulfillment.

I love this prayer. This prayer is the foundation for ministry. The believers ask for two things to take place simultaneously. First, they ask that God gives them grace to continue to speak with boldness amidst persecution. They are undergoing incredible persecution, and they need God’s help to proclaim the Gospel with boldness.

Second, they ask that God would continue to display the Gospel with healing, signs and wonders. They ask God to reveal himself as they proclaim the good news with boldness.

I must confess, I have very little experience with displays of miracles as accompaniment to the proclamation of the Gospel. I have seen a few miracles as I and others have prayed for each other. God healed a bum knee for someone I prayed for, he instantly healed a headache for another, and a shoulder for another woman. I am sure there are more that I haven’t recalled.

But these guys expected this to be commonplace. Signs and wonders were part and parcel of the ministry of the early church. They were signs that accompanied the Gospel. They made it obvious something new was happening.

These early Christians also asked God to stretch his hand to heal. This is distinguished slightly from the signs and wonders. Healing includes the signs and wonders the church prayed for, but it also includes removal of all of the effects of the curse of sin.

This, I have seen much more of. I have watched people’s lives changed by the good news of Jesus. I have seen people walk out of depression. I have seen addictions broken. I have seen hearts warmed toward God and others. I have seen drug dealers turned into CEO’s and people with terrible anger made new. Our proclamation of the good news will only be effective as God invades hearts and changes lives. When he does this, the results are undeniable.

So then, we ask the Lord to give us boldness. We proclaim the good news that God came to set us free from the curse of sin. We depend on him to accompany that proclamation with the miracle of lives set free and signs and wonders.

This is the formula. God, give me grace to live it.

One Response

  1. Sooo good hubby. Really makes you sit back and ponder on these things.

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