Peter and John came back to the group, told them about how they were threatened and told quite bluntly "Don't talk about Jesus anymore" (basically). All the people then, stood up and prayed "God help us be bold" (basically).
And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, Acts 4:24
Do you know what they didn't pray?
"God give us favor with these leaders."
"God protect us"
"God give us justice"
"God give us new leaders"
"God help us not get caught"
And do you know what happened?
And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,
Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet. Acts 4:31-37
It was a time in history that I'd give my eye teeth to have been a part of. For a short period of time, it was the perfect church.
And while I'm sure there are many keys in this chapter as to how to get the perfect church, the biggest part that always jumps out at me is their prayer.
We pray for protection from pain, and I can't seem to find a lot of Biblical examples of that. And certainly none that plead for that protection to the magnitude that we do - and we're not even asking it for the gospels sake. We're just asking for less financial worries so we can go out to eat more often, and maybe upgrade to the HD channels on our HDTV.
It's just natural instinct to say "self first". These guys knew the leaders weren't making idle threats though, and yet their first prayer was "Give us boldness". I'm betting they knew they were a little short on boldness.
It's a challenging thought, because even I see the value of adding a "...and protect us" to the prayer. But I wonder.. I just wonder.. if God doesn't want us to stop praying about our own care and leave that up to Him.