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 peoples 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. And now, Lord, 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.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
(Acts 4:23-31 ESV)
John Piper comments on Acts 4:23-31
Five Reasons This Prayer Is Relevant for Us
This prayer is relevant for us today in Minneapolis [or anywhere else] for five reasons.
- It is relevant because of the answer that came.
- It is relevant because of who is praying.
- It is relevant because of the occasion when it was prayed.
- It is relevant because of whom it was prayed to.
- It is relevant because of what was asked.
How We Should Seek the Power of the Spirit
This is relevant for us because it shows us how we should be seeking the power of God’s Spirit. We should be praying for it like they were—and remember Jesus says not to lose heart, but to keep seeking and knocking and asking the Father for the Holy Spirit (Luke 11). And that means praying not only in general ways for the outpouring of God’s Spirit but in specific ways: for the gift of bold proclamation, for his hand to be stretched out to heal, and his Son’s name to be honored and vindicated through signs and wonders. Preaching is primary because the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. But signs and wonders are helpful witnesses to the Word of grace (Acts 14:3; Hebrews 2:4).
It is a very relevant prayer. Not for an introspective people who are merely interested in unusual experiences, but for a people who long for the salvation of sinners and the magnifying of God’s glory and the public vindication of Jesus’ name. If that is what we want, then this is the way to pray.
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