by Michael A. Asher
Recently, a longtime friend of mine from my college days passed away. As often happens, we had lost touch with each other even though he lived less than an hour away from me. While attending the funeral, I was discouraged to learn of the many health struggles related to substance abuse and alcoholism my friend had gone through the past few years that I was completely unaware of. During the prayer said at the cemetery, I thought about what I could have done to make a difference in my friend’s life—if only I had reached out at some point. Honestly, I had been too busy with my own life to give him a call and ask how he was doing. I wasn’t even sure if my friend knew Jesus or not. Why hadn’t I thought to simply pray for him these past few years? The prayer I offered at his gravesite seemed helpless and inadequate, potentially too late to help a friend lost without Jesus.
On my drive home, I regretted my absence from my friend’s life. If we claim Christ as our Savior, we must be willing to leave our comfort zone and warn others of the precarious position they are in without the Lord. The hard truth for every one of us is that we all have a terminal illness called sin. There is only one way by which anyone can be saved, and that not of ourselves, but only through Jesus’ grace and the faith we put in him.
While I fully know God has instructed me to share the good news of the gospel with those who do not yet know the truth, I too often become distracted by the issues I face in my own life. They can deter me from staying focused on the mission at hand. Jesus stayed the course on his daunting mission to defeat death on the cross. The least I could do is try to save others by witnessing to those he loves just as much as he loves me. It is possible that you might be the only believer someone ever encounters who could share the Word of God with them.
A Bold Example
I desire to live a bolder Christian life. I want to dedicate myself to a more effective, impactful prayer life. None of us can live bolder in our faith than the level of prayer we employ in our spiritual walk. Prayer should not be our last resort, but our first priority each and every day God has given us to live for him. How else can we take up our cross daily and follow him?
God’s Word relates this account:
“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. All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all” (Acts 4:31-33, NIV).
I marvel at the faith of the apostles, who sacrificed every earthly thing they had to share the Word of God, often to hostile and angry crowds who threatened them with harm on a regular basis. They knew the mission they had been tasked with by the Lord Jesus was more important than any of their human fears. They encouraged and fortified each other in the faith even though they faced overwhelming opposition at every stop. What they inherently realized is something we in the modern age sometimes forget—the power of the Holy Spirit that indwells the hearts of believing Christians is formidable and can perform wondrous miracles through all who have genuine faith. The same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead resides within every believer.
Persevering Under Pressure
When was the last time you paused to evaluate the true strength and resilience of your faith? Do you pray boldly to the Lord, or do you meekly come before him asking for his help? If you have chosen to follow Christ, you already know by now that we can experience difficult times along the Christian journey—wherever it might lead. Our world is far from God, filled with unexpected, tragic, uncertain, and challenging times. All of these experiences are opportunities for Christians to testify to the hope they have in Jesus, who helps us overcome everything we can possibly face in this life. Each soul who stands in opposition to the message of the gospel represents someone who is lost and at risk of being separated from God for eternity. Every Christian believer should love his neighbor enough to fight for the salvation of his soul as if it were his own.
We must pursue God’s will in our life with an unquenchable desire to persevere under all circumstances. We need to pray for Jesus himself to strengthen our faith to be able to withstand the obstacles the enemies of God will inevitably place in our path to defeat us. We must be determined to carry on in spite of rejection, disappointment, or even persecution. Our faith can help us deal with an unwelcome diagnosis, a tragic death of a loved one, a loss of employment, or an unfortunate event in our lives. Know that a sovereign God allows for these situations to transpire; they are not a surprise to him. For us, though, they can become moments to test our faith and our willingness to trust in the promises of the God we claim as our Lord.
Bolder Prayers = Bolder Faith
As believers, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we should not cower in fear, praying for safety and security. We should enter into the realm of spiritual warfare we face daily with the confidence of those early Christians. We should pray for boldness of faith so that God can use us to lead lost souls to the truth of the gospel, always remembering that it is the power of God that saves, not our own. Every memorable and amazing character written about within the pages of the Bible was a flawed human being—just like you and me. God demonstrates his greatness by using those he has created to fulfill his purposes and convince all of who he is. Christ lowered himself to human form to relate to our condition and reveal his eternal love for every soul.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:15, 16, NIV).
Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, we have an all-access pass to boldly approach our Father God in prayer. Our mission is clear. I leave you with this question: Why not be bold?
Michael A. Asher is a financial controller who has nourished a lifelong love of the Bible by sharing God’s Word through creative writing.