The believers gathered together to pray in Acts 4:23-31 did not pray for deliverance from persecution in itself. Their chief concern was that God would enable them to speak His word with ‘great boldness’ (Acts 4:29).
This is a great prayer for us all to pray. Most of us feel very timid about speaking to other people about Jesus. We are afraid of being ridiculed or getting into trouble; we feel incompetent and worried that once we start to talk about Jesus, we will be asked questions we can’t answer or will find ourselves out of our depth and unable to swim! In this day and age of political correctness and crimes of hate speech, we are worried how our words about God may be interpreted by others and can be almost paralysed to speak of our Lord and Saviour in case we are misunderstood or misinterpreted.
At the same time, we know that God calls us to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8) and that we need to be telling the stories of God to all we meet (Ps 78:4-7, Ps 107:2) It’s therefore a great prayer to pray: ‘enable me, Lord, to speak Your word with great boldness.’ If Paul could ask the Ephesians to pray for him ‘that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel’ (Eph 6:19), we can pray for this same boldness and fearlessness to know how to make known the mystery of the gospel to those we meet on a daily basis. The Bible reminds us that the righteous are as bold as a lion (Prov 28:1). May God give us this lion-like boldness, far beyond ourselves, to speak His word wherever we are.