Arrested. Released. Arrested. Released. That’s pretty much the pattern Jesus’ followers experienced as they shared the message of Christ with the world around them during the first few months of Christianity’s existence. The early believers had amazing boldness and courage—sharing the message of Christ without regard for personal consequences such as jail. We can take a cue from them as we seek to share the message of Christ with the people around us, and with the school year coming to a close, now is not the time to leave things unsaid or to be hesitant in sharing what the gospel has done for you.
You can count on God to increase your confidence and wisdom.
Some of the most noted gospel boldness takes place in the Book of Acts. In fact, Acts 4:23-31 records a prayer party that broke out just after Peter and John were released from jail. This party brought immediate results (and probably disturbed the neighbors), so let’s see what the people did. As you read this passage from your Bible or favorite Bible app, write down what you find in response to the questions below.
• How did the people praise God?
• What requests did they make?
• What results did they experience?
You might think of Bible people as naturally bold and courageous, but courage didn’t come as easily for them as you might think. As you just saw, they prayed for it! Take a moment to write a prayer requesting boldness and fearlessness in talking about Christ with your friends. Follow the pattern of the prayer in Acts 4: Start with praising God, then move to bold requests. You also may want to incorporate the encouragement from the verses below regarding boldness with the gospel.
Mark 8:34-38 — Romans 1:15-16 — 2 Timothy 1:8-12
Requests for courage and boldness in sharing the gospel always will be answered yes by God. You can count on God to increase your confidence and wisdom. Close your time by thinking of specific situations in which you can encourage friends with the message of the gospel. Your encouragement might simply be in the form of the promise: I will pray for you. Then follow through with praying. In fact, make it Acts 4 type praying.
Below are some potential situations people around you might be experiencing. Write down any names that come to mind with each situation, and then look for opportunities in the next few days to share and pray boldly. Stay available and open for how God might want to use you in each situation. The believers in Acts 4 felt the earth move. God might have something similar in store for you.
• Friends who are hurting from loss or heartache.
• Friends who are sick.
• Friends who are stressed.
• Friends who are depressed.
• Friends who are lonely.
• Friends who are experiencing challenges in their family.