Becoming more Bold
I was attending a clergy meeting many years ago and was asked by one of my friends: “How are you?”
My usual reply, like most would be to say, “Fine!”
But this day for some reason, I wasn’t feeling fine and I told him so. For a few minutes he listened intently and then he said something almost all of us will say when hearing someone share something important or difficult. He said: “I’ll pray for you.”
I thanked him and started to walk away.
But he stopped me and said, “Wait a minute.” Turning to look at him, he continued, “When I said I was going to pray for you, I meant now.”
Did I mention that I was in a crowded room full of other preachers?
With that, he grabbed my two hands, leaned his head back and in a loud, clear voice said, “Oh Lord, it’s me again. Larry Davies is in trouble and he needs your help, right now.” For another minute or so, he went on describing exactly what I needed from God and claimed the miracle of answered prayer.
May I remind you, that I was in a crowded room full of other preachers?
While I turned three shades of red and wished the ground would swallow me whole, something happened in the midst of his prayer. Somehow I felt God’s presence and as hard as this is to admit: I felt somehow peaceful yet at the same time I also felt embarrassed. Is that possible?
Later that day and through the evening, I told everyone I what happened. Within the span of few days I likely told at least fifty or sixty more people about someone who boldly prayed for my needs. Another preacher touched me because he had the courage to be bold when I needed it most.
Boldness does not come naturally for me but the longer I am a Christian the more I realize that boldness is a major part of our witness.
Here are two great examples in one passage of Acts Chapter 3…
Bold Act Number 1: Peter Heals a Crippled Beggar – Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.
Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”
Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.
All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded! They all rushed out in amazement to Solomon’s Colonnade, where the man was holding tightly to Peter and John.
Bold Act Number 2: Peter Preaches in the Temple – Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. “People of Israel,” he said, “what is so surprising about this? And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness? For it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of all our ancestors—who has brought glory to his servant Jesus by doing this.
The beggar was asking for a handout but Peter and John boldly asked God for much more. How did they know the beggar would be healed? They didn’t. That’s the risk of being bold.
When people became excited, Peter boldly addressed the crowd and preached about Jesus. But the crowd could have turned on Peter? How did he know they would listen? He didn’t. That’s the risk of being bold.
I expected someone to politely listen to me, but instead received a bold act of prayer. How did he know that’s what I really needed? He didn’t. That is the risk of being bold.
Sometimes being bold doesn’t work right away. Sometimes being bold results in failure at least on the surface. But if the Spirit of God is prompting you or me to do or say something bold then something of God will follow. For me, that is what it means to “walk in faith.”
Soon you will be getting ready for church. Admit it. For most, attending church can easily become routine. Our expectations are not all that high. We aren’t hoping for a life changing miracle as much as we’re hoping for something to get us through the next week. We hope to be inspired a little, learn a little and feel a little more hope about ourselves and God?
Suppose we became bold and dared to ask for more?
Suppose we were to ask God: Use me to be bold in church today? Who needs help? Give me the sensitivity to see it and the boldness to act on it.
Suppose we were to ask: Use me to be bold throughout the week? Whether at home, in school, at work or even in a restaurant, or dry cleaner or walking in the neighborhood?
Suppose we were to ask of our church: Use us to be bold as we proclaim our love for Jesus Christ. May we see the needs within our church family, within our community and around the world? May we respond with bold actions that challenge our resources and even our faith?
There are risks but there are also huge opportunities to be used by God.
Paul and John in Chapter 3 of acts were minding their own business when a poor lame beggar asked for a handout.
I was just looking for someone to listen to me for a minute.
Instead, God honored an act of boldness with something more.
May God give us all a Spirit of boldness in everything we do.