Make Us Bold


The first prayer that I ever remember saying to God is a familiar one: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep…” Many types of prayers followed throughout my growing-up years, most of them having to do with my own comfort or selfish desires. The self-centered prayers of childhood often bleed into adulthood, too. I’m guessing that many of us still pray along the lines of our own well-being and our heart’s longings. Perhaps that’s what makes today’s passage so convicting. On the heels of being tried by the Jewish Sanhedrin, Peter and John and the believing community do not implore God’s deliverance; instead, they ask for something surprisingly different.

  • What do you tend to pray for most often?


23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 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, 25 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?
26 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’—

27 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, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 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.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. Where did Peter and John go, and what did they do, when they were released from the Sanhedrin? What response did this lead to among the gathered community of believers (vs. 24)?
  2. During this communal time of prayer, what was the first thing that the people recognized (vs. 25)?
  3. Quoting Psalm 2:1-2, the believers acknowledged opposition to God’s plan and his anointed Messiah, Jesus. Whom did they say was opposed to Jesus (vss. 27-28)?
  4. What did the believers ask of God (vs. 29)? To whom did they accredit works of healing, and signs and wonders? How do these prayers reveal the conviction of their hearts? What can we learn from this?
  5. How did God respond to the prayers of these believers, and how were the people affected (vs. 31)? What do you need to boldly pray about today, trusting God for the outcome?


Not long after this prayer and its divine answer, persecution would come hard and fast for these early Christians—in just a few short chapters, Stephen would be stoned to death for his faith. It’s interesting that, at a time when most of us might have prayed for safety and deliverance, Peter and John and other Christians purposefully chose to lean into their sovereign God, asking to be used boldly for the furtherance of the gospel. May we be convicted by these ancient saints and follow after their example in our prayer practices today.

  • Confess God’s sovereignty and concede your plans and will to his purpose and will.
  • Ask for the Holy Spirit to fill you with courage so that you can speak boldly about Jesus.