We know God loves humility, but He also loves boldness. Religious leaders put Peter and John in prison after healing the lame man at the Temple gate. When they were released from prison, the disciples prayed: “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.” God answered this prayer of faith: “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly.” (see Acts 4:29-31)
Elisha was the loyal servant of Elijah, a prophet of God. Before Elijah was taken to heaven in a fiery chariot, he asked his student: “What can I do for you?” Elisha made a bold request: ”Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit.” Elijah said this was a difficult thing, but Elisha would know God’s answer according to what he was allowed to ‘see’ as Elijah’s life on earth ended. God said “yes” to Elisha’s extravagant prayer and II Kings records his fruitful life (see chapter 2 and following).
So how are we to pray these days? Is it possible to be both humble and bold? Of course it is! We need look no further than the One we follow. Jesus was “gentle and humble in heart” yet “powerful in word and deed.“ He taught with authority and brought honor to His Father by healing the sick and casting out demons and proclaiming the Kingdom of God.
Some may think that only His twelve apostles were given similar authority and power, but this is not so. Descriptions of two disciples tell us what is needed. Stephen was one of the seven chosen to serve the widows in the early Church. “They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 6:5) Barnabas, nicknamed ‘Son of Encouragement’, was quick to embrace Paul as a brother in Christ. “He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.” (Acts 11:24)
Has the world ever needed God any more than now? Storms, floods, wildfires, a worldwide pandemic, social unrest, political turmoil… Now is the time to pray boldly! Our world needs Jesus! Let’s pray for the double blessing of Stephen and Barnabas: they were both FULL OF FAITH and FULL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
God wants us to pray with persistence and determination. Again, Elisha is an example. On his last journey, three times Elijah told Elisha to stay put instead of following him. Three times Elisha gave the same reply: “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” (II Kings 2:2-6) If he had not persisted, Elisha would never have received a double portion.
Jesus’ parable of the persistent widow is meant for us: “Because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice… Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones who cry out to Him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (see Luke 18:1-8)
“You will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named ministers of our God… Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion…” Isaiah 61:7
“Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.” Acts 6:8
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” Luke 11:11-13