Man with his hands raised in prayer
Man with his hands raised in prayer

Praying for Boldness

“…most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my
imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the Word without fear.”

Philippians 1:14 ESV

The English puritan preacher William Gurnall wrote: “A minister, without boldness, is like a smooth file, a knife without an edge, a sentinel that is afraid to let off his gun. If men will be bold in sin, ministers must be bold to reprove.” 1

A man prayingGurnall’s challenge is not for the minister alone, but for all Christians who follow the way of the Lord. I am regularly reminded by a ministry colleague that we must be ready to pray, preach and die at a moment’s notice. Dying, or martyrdom, may mean an actual physical death; but for most, it requires a death of worldly and selfish desires for the sake of the Gospel and God’s glory.

Charles Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship, wrote the following message:

“The responsibility for apologetics is not limited to Christian pastors or intellectuals. When I challenge people to learn how to defend their faith and ‘think Christianly,’ they often respond, ‘Oh, I’m not up for this’ or ‘It’s too deep for me.’ But God has created each of us with a mind, the capacity to study, think and ask questions. No one is an expert in every area but each of us can master the subjects in which we have some experience.

"If our culture is to be transformed, it will happen from the bottom up – from ordinary believers practising apologetics over the backyard fence or around the barbecue grill. To be sure, it’s important for Christian scholars to conduct research and hold academic symposia, but the real leverage for cultural change comes from transforming the habits and dispositions of ordinary people.” 2

The term “apologetics” means to speak in defence of something. Christians have daily opportunities to defend their faith with a clear and sound presentation of the Gospel, as well as living it out. Our Biblical knowledge must therefore increase as we counter the hollow and deceptive philosophies of the world. As the Apostle Paul explains to Timothy,All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 3

Here's the catch. Godly living encounters persecution. Living the Christian life is not for the faint of heart nor those seeking the creature comforts of the world. It requires boldness. However, none of us are able to live boldly for Christ in our own strength. Without the infilling of the Holy Spirit, we are like Jesus’ disciples who fled at His arrest. Even Peter, who many would characterize as a bold person, denied Jesus three times before those assembled in the courtyard of the high priest. Sure, people can exhibit spurts of boldness in definitive moments, but the Christian life requires a steady-state level of courage – something that cannot humanly be maintained.

Philippians 1:14 presents an unexpected result of Paul’s imprisonment: Fellow believers gained confidence and boldness in Gospel presentation. Paul’s situation acted as a lightning rod for more significant evangelism, something I am sure the authorities were not counting on. Three words from this verse – “in the Lord” – are key to understanding the source of boldness in the face of opposition. Union with Christ, and the divine resources available through Him, encourage and strengthen Christians to proclaim His Gospel in a hostile world. The believers’ dependence on the Lord grew in the face of Paul’s imprisonment and, with that, so did their boldness.

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand International Founder of VOM
Pastor Richard Wurmbrand
International Founder of VOM

When faced with the brutality of the invading Communists, Pastor Richard Wurmbrand asked himself, "What can I do to win these men to Christ?" He knew the Bible possessed real answers and the power to set people free, not the hollow and deceptive philosophies of Communism. This then required Christians – ministers and congregants alike – to be willing to boldly proclaim the Gospel to their Communist aggressors.

Today, God calls His church to accomplish the task of Gospel proclamation. Therefore, we must not only diligently pray that persecuted Christians in distant lands be bold in living and proclaiming the truth, but also for them to have the courage to speak His truth. As fellow believers, every one of us is required to share the Good News to those within our spheres of influence, and we can trust that the Holy Spirit will faithfully embolden us for the fulfilment of this great task.

To God be the glory!

Floyd (signature)

Floyd A. Brobbel
Chief Executive Officer
The Voice of the Martyrs Canada Inc.

2 Charles Colson, How Now Shall We Live? Tyndale House Publishers, 2009, pg. 32
3 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV

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