Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. (Acts 4:29)
When we step into the place of prayer it is often to ask the Lord to change circumstances. We pray for healing for someone who is sick, comfort for someone who is grieving and for the Lord to change the heart of someone who is walking away from God’s kingdom. Prayer changes things and the Lord is able to move in people’s lives and circumstances because we pray.
But prayer does not just change a situation it will also change who we are, so that we can be used by the Lord to be his change agents in this world. God’s word is a double edged sword and it works on us just as much as on the situation we are praying for.
It can simply be the action of the Holy Spirit giving us a deeper love for the person who we are praying for. But it can be a more profound effect. In Acts 4, Peter and John had been in prison because they had been speaking about Jesus. Once they were released the believers gathered to pray. They were praying about the persecution and discrimination which they faced. You would think that the focus of the believers’ prayers would be to stop the persecution, to protect themselves from future imprisonment. But instead they pray that they would be changed. The believers pray for great boldness to be able to speak. They ask for signs and wonders to be performed so that they would be able to speak about Jesus.
Their prayers were not “Change this bad situation Lord,” but “Change us so that we can be effective in this situation!” God heard and answered their prayer in such a tangible way that the building was shaken, the believers were filled with the Spirit and spoke boldly.
What challenging circumstances do you face today? Where are the places you want the Lord to step into and change? How may the Lord be wanting to change you so that you can become the change agent for the situation?
Prayer changes things and often the very first thing which needs to be changed is our own hearts.