Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” - Acts 4: 29-30
This is such a bold, confrontational, awesome prayer. The disciples have essentially just avoided major punishment and been told to keep quiet and yet they are asking God for even more boldness so that they can continue to speak out the word of God. It’s a scary prayer, it carried risk and yet they were so elated by what they had witnessed and been part of through the Holy Spirit, that they couldn’t stop themselves proclaiming the word of God and asking him to demonstrate his almighty power in them and through them, even more than before.
My first thought when reading this is that it feels like a far cry from some of my current prayer times! However, I was then reminded of a particular experience I had a number of years ago when I experienced the Holy Spirit in a mind blowing way that changed my life. I turned in to that person (I would probably have run away from me) that could not stop talking about God and telling people about what he had done, telling anyone who would listen to me. I had zero embarrassment; just this confidence and a fierce boldness that came from encountering the Holy Spirit and seeing God move in a miraculous way. I already knew God and had encountered the Holy Spirit my whole life but this experience was on another level and it profoundly affected me. Yet over time life moved on and that experience became part of my past. Although I still shared my story it wasn’t with the same zeal and passion.
So the challenge I’d love you to join me in, is to pray for fresh encounters and new experiences with the Holy Spirit. There isn’t anything God can’t do and there isn’t anyone that can’t experience the gift of the Holy Spirit. He wants to include us in his miracles and bless us with his incredible life changing presence.
I truly believe we have an opportunity every day to experience God in a different way, whether you’ve been a Christian your whole life or for five minutes. Let’s not get complacent in how much we pursue his presence. It’s a key aspect of developing relationship and growing our faith.
On a practical note if you feel a bit stuck or you’re not sure how to do this, try something different. Start with thankfulness and simply ask God to make you aware of his Holy Spirit. Put on some worship music and lie on the floor, go for a prayer walk, hide in a cupboard and pray, go running in the woods. If you can’t escape your kids get them to join you in asking him for his presence, journal, or just sit in silence and wait.