“…enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.”
Acts 4:29 (NIV)
In my studies in university it never occurred to me to ask God for good marks. I was a Christian and had a tremendous desire to excel in my studies and do the best I could. I felt it was wrong to ask specifically for the best marks even though I wanted them. What I did fervently ask for was assistance in studying my courses and in writing my exams.
I did not think I could short-circuit the “system” and simply apply to God for high grades and ignore the hard work of studying. I knew I had to work diligently and perspire over my books and lecture notes if I wished to succeed. So I prayed that I might have grace to work hard. When I went into the examination room to write my answers I would pause and pray for a calm spirit and the ability to recall what I had studied.
The people who prayed the prayer in our text today asked for a curious thing given their situation. They did not pray that they might short-circuit the “system”. They knew that Jesus had indicated they were in for a time of suffering and they were already tasting it. Suffering in this life is a given so where do we go from here?
These people prayed for endurance to run the race and not get sidetracked by the opposition that had reared its ugly head. The authorities had forbidden them to speak of Jesus any more and they prayed for strength to do exactly what was forbidden.
Before His departure, Jesus had told the disciples to preach the Good News about Him and they intended to obey Him rather than the government when the two were in contradiction to each other. They were fully aware of what the authorities had done to Jesus and they had no illusions about being delivered from death themselves.
If your prayer life seems to be stalled you may need to look at what you are asking of God. Perhaps you are wanting to merely escape suffering and difficulties in life. There is no guarantee that God will enable His children to be exempt from the common lot of humanity.
However, you may start there and ask for mercy in your suffering. You may seek from God the health, or job, or other things He seems to give other Christians. I am not suggesting it is wrong to ask for the removal of an obstacle in your way.
It is when the prayer for the removal of a difficulty is not answered that you need to consider changing your prayer and start asking for grace to endure whatever the undesirable thing is.
Submission to God is a virtue He desires from us. When we bow before His sovereign will, then we will discover that He comes to us with all the resources necessary to address the difficulties of life and He will cause us to be triumphant in the end. Will you submit your will to His? If you do then you will walk with God and have all you need for life.