Pray for Boldness

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Ephesians 6:18-20 NIV

 

Plainly and publically

One of the hallmarks of the early church’s ministry in the book of Acts was boldness (Acts 4:13, 29, 31, 28:31). They fearlessly and boldly proclaimed the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Boldness carries a little bit of baggage in the American church. When we say “boldness”, you might think of things like arrogance, confrontation, or angry street preachers. Rather, we prefer compassion and sensitivity in place of boldness. Yet, when we study boldness in the original Greek, there’s a deeper and more beautiful meaning at work.

In Greek, the word for boldness didn’t originally mean boldness at all. In fact, it literally meant, “freedom of speech.” The reality is that there is no such thing as perfect freedom of speech, because even if someone in authority gives you permission to say what you want, that doesn’t mean everyone is going to like it. Thus, the word for “freedom of speech” in Greek began to carry with it a connotation of boldness—or the willingness to speak freely even in the face of opposition or when it’s unwelcome.

In Jesus’ ministry, this word boldness is used to differentiate between the times when Jesus would speak in riddles or parables, and the times that He spoke more plainly or publically. The Greek word that is translated as “boldness” in Acts is often translated in the gospels as “publicly” or “plainly.” In this sense, it means more than just boldness. It’s used to describe the kind of speech that is plain, simple, and public. It’s the kind of speech that is free from riddles—speech that is not confusing.

This kind of boldness is something that Paul longed for often. It wasn’t something that came naturally to him. It wasn’t something he could talk himself into. It wasn’t something he could get himself hyped up for. He didn’t have boldness because he overdosed on caffeine. He viewed boldness as a gift of the Spirit. He viewed it as something that came as a result of prayer.

In three places, in three different letters, he specifically asked that he might have this kind of boldness (Eph. 6:19-20, Phil. 1:20, 1 Thess. 2:2). He prayed for it, and he asked others to pray for it on his behalf.

If you study these passages, you’ll see that Paul longed for, prayed for, and trusted in God to give him the gift of boldness: the supernatural ability to speak plainly, publically, and without fear, the good news of Jesus Christ.

Would you pray that our launch team may have this same kind of boldness to speak plainly, publically, and without fear? Pray that God will give us opportunity to proclaim publically and plainly the Good News of Jesus Christ. Pray that we never become complacent or arrogant, indifferent or too confident; but that we would speak plainly and humbly about the God we serve. 

Joe Graves