Praying Biblical Prayers – 14. Stephen
What would it look like for you to join some of your favorite biblical characters in the prayers they once prayed and which God has preserved for us in the Scriptures? As you ponder the great prayers of God’s people, give yourself permission to personalize the words and make them your own prayer too. For example, when Moses prayed very simply “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you” (Exodus 33:13), simply join Moses and pray for God’s favor over your own life today. Praying the Scriptures in this way will bring health and vitality to your heart and soul.
I so admire the wisdom the Spirit of God gave to Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power. He stood up against the leaders of his day and proclaimed the truth about Jesus. His bold proclamation of the gospel irritated the opposition they could hardly tolerate Stephen. But, they simply could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke. When he was brought before the Sanhedrin, all who were sitting there looked intently at Stephen “and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel” (Acts 6:10, 15). His speech to the Sanhedrin (Acts 7) was stunning and worth rereading to bolster your faith in the glory and truth of God. From the story of Moses to the time of David, inserting the prophet Isaiah’s stunning words, Stephen recounts how the people have resisted the Holy Spirit and for generations have been a stiff-necked people.
When the Sanhedrin heard all that Stephen said, they were furious and they gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen kept his eyes on the Lord…and this enraged them all the more. They rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. He died a martyr’s death on that day. Persecution continued to mount against the Church and it became harder and all the more challenging to follow Jesus from that time forward as believers were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.
Join Stephen in his simple prayer of faithful perseverance and forgiving grace amidst those who were intolerant of his proclamation of the gospel, even as you consider those who are against what you stand for today as a follower of Jesus (Acts 7: 54-60)
“Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” (vs. 56)
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” (vs. 59)
“Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” (vs. 60)
When he had said this, he fell asleep. And Saul approved of their killing him.
Behold the splendor of the Lord – Believe the promises of his love – Belong to those who unreservedly trust him – Become prayerful in all you are and do.