Have you ever examined why we do or say a particular thing in our Christian walk, and then wonder why we do a certain thing? Or do you read a passage in the Bible and wonder why we do not do a certain thing? I do wonder and question sometimes.
I was reading Acts 4, the passage where Peter and John are brought before the Jewish council and told to stop speaking and teaching in Jesus' name. They refused, because they must listen to God over man. After this encounter, Peter and John went back to the rest of the believers to fill them in. Then they started to pray. They realized that the Psalms predicted Jesus' betrayal by several groups. Next, they made their petition of God.
"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 prayer blows me away. Why? Because they know that persecution is coming. They have been threatened. There are many things that they could pray for: laws to protect them, safety for believers, a speedy second coming so they can skip the persecution. But they prayed for boldness in speaking His word.
My top prayer for myself is not for my safety. It is for effectiveness and faithfulness in serving my Lord. I do not needlessly take risks, but I cannot pretend that my top goal is safety. When I look at Jesus' life and prayers, He prayed for God's will to be done, even at the cost of His comfort and very life. My example in living is Jesus. If the One who I follow cares more about God's will being done than His own safety, why should my life be any different?
I do pray for the safety of the persecuted church, but my top prayer is for God's glory to be seen and for the persecuted to remain faithful, even to the point of death. I know that if the choice has to be made, I earnestly want them to refuse to recant their faith, even if they are executed.
I humbly submit that we the church in the US needs to be less concerned with its rights, its comfort, its safety, its separateness, and more concerned with boldly speaking God's Word (in love-Ephesians 4:15), serving the least of these (because in serving them, we serve Jesus-Matthew 25:31-end), and remaining faithful to the end.