Day 6 – Lord, Stretch Me
Recall the circumstances surrounding this book of Acts prayer: “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness” (Acts 4:29).
In Acts 1, the church gathered for prayer. In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit came upon the church and Peter addressed the crowd. In Acts 3, Peter and John healed a lame man in Jesus’ name and spoke to the onlookers. In Acts 4, the religious council turned against them: “Don’t talk about Jesus.”
The church gathered again and prayed. “Sovereign Lord, you see these threats. But we see you as the Exalted One, the Holy One, the Powerful One, the Worthy One.”
They didn’t pray against the religious leaders. They had no vengeful spirit.
They weren’t running away from their problems. Or questioning God why this was happening to them. Or asking God to change their circumstances. Or even asking God for protection.
Rather, they lifted their eyes to see God in his majesty. Then they asked God for courage to keep preaching about Jesus and speaking God’s words with confidence.
I would call that a “Lord, stretch me” kind of prayer.
God stretches us beyond our level of comfort: Presses us to take a further step of faith. Calls us to accept an assignment just past our present skill set. Compels us to develop our character a little more. Nudges us to speak a word for him. Asks us to go the second mile. Prompts us to move into a new role of authority or leadership.
Being stretched can be inconvenient. Or make us feel anxious. Or cause us to pull back.
Yet being stretched spiritually can mean: Exploring a new way to pray. Experiencing a new depth of God’s grace. Encountering a new infilling of the Spirit. Expanding a new capacity for serving others. Entering a new opportunity for daring greatly.
When new wine is poured into new wineskins, the wineskins stretch (Matthew 9:17; Mark 2:22).
As God was stretching his church as they prayed for boldness, God also shook the place, answered their prayer, and stretched out his hand to do the miraculous (Acts 4:30-31).
If you know someone whose love is far-reaching, whose perseverance is inspiring, whose spiritual strength is amazing, that person, when facing life’s many challenges, has probably voiced a “Lord, stretch me” kind of prayer.
Prayer: “Lord, stretch my faith beyond uneasy fears, beyond limited thinking, beyond negative voices – beholding you.”
~ Pastor Dave