Consider two prayers that are offered by the apostles of Jesus in the book of Acts and what each has to say about their confidence in God. All prayers of Scripture are worthy of our study and are worthy of our imitation, let’s examine briefly these two prayers.
Acts 1:24-25 – God who knows all hearts.
Judas has betrayed Jesus and the Lord was crucified according to heaven’s plan. The eleven, being gathered together in Jerusalem according to the instructions of Jesus were tasked with appointing a man to take the place of the betrayer. They sought the help of God on the important occasion. In their prayer, they acknowledge that God, “knows the hearts of all.” Having put forward two persons between whom the choice was to be made, they prayed to the Lord who show which one HE had chosen. The prayer is an acknowledgement of their belief in the providence of God and many words were not needed or expressed to show their confidence in God’s ability to know and to answer their petition.
Do we pray to God with an understanding that He truly knows our heart (Psalm 44:21)? Do we have the humility of David to ask God to search our hearts (Psalm 139:23)? Are we honest with ourselves enough to search out our ways and seek only the path of righteousness? What a great reminder this short prayer is of God’s ability to know the hearts of men and to be motivated to serve Him with a pure heart in full confidence of His providential care!
Acts 4:24-30 – God who has the power to protect and provide.
In a short space, proper care cannot be given this powerful prayer! Please do yourself a favor and study the complete context of this prayer in Acts 4. Be reminded that Peter and John had performed an undeniable miracle in the healing of man who had been lame from birth – a period of over 40 years (Acts 4:22). It sent the leadership of the Jews into a tailspin and they commanded the apostles to refrain from speaking or teaching in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:18). The apostles refused to be quiet in speaking the things they had seen and heard and being released they were gathered to the rest of the apostles to report and to pray. If the first prayer in Acts 1 was a prayer to the ‘heart-knowing’ God – this was an appeal to the God of protection and provider of boldness.
Please see that this prayer does not include words that would have God to destroy their enemies, or offer words of retaliation. This is prayer that appeals to God’s protection based on two things:
1. He is the God of creation. He is the maker of, “heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them.” This is a prayer that is prayed with an understanding of God’s power. When we pray, do we understand that we are praying to an all-powerful God? Let us not have a small view of God!
2. He is the God of fulfilled prophesy. God had spoken by the mouth of David (a quote from Psalm 2:1-2) and they had witnessed the fulfillment of the prophesy in the treatment of Jesus at the hands of Pilate with the help of the Gentiles and people of Israel. Do we pray to God with an understanding that He is all-knowing and eternal? Do we appeal to God in such a way that we express our confidence in His understanding of how all things will be played out?
When was the last time you prayed for God to provide you with boldness? These men of God were requesting that God help them to have continued confidence to speak in the name of Jesus. They had been threatened and were asking the help of God to continue to have their confidence in Him and not in the world.
As we pray to the same God – may we do so with the same confidence in Him as displayed by the apostles. May we know God to be the only One who knows the hearts of men (especially of our own). May we understand the power that only belongs to God and pray that our confidence be always in Him and for the boldness to stand firmly for our Savior!
– Adam Orr