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August 16 | Acts 4:23-31


 

DAILY READING

Acts 4:23-31

 

REFLECTION


Spiritual Stage Fright

by Mary Kate Hipp



For those of you who know me, this may come as a shock, but when I was in preschool, my teachers were rather concerned that I would not talk to them. In fact, until I was about eight, I refused to talk to any adult besides my parents. I was terrified of most adults and would hide behind my parents in fear. I also had atrocious stage fright until I was 17. I even refused to sing "Happy Birthday" in large group settings because I was terrified that someone would hear me--I just mouthed the words and smiled along.

Some would say, I simply was not a bold child.


In the second grade though, I had a phenomenal teacher. I suddenly had the courage to speak out and ask every. single. question. that could have possibly popped into my little head. I was confident in participating because she made me feel safe and I knew she would answer every single granular question I had. I became SO bold that in the fifth grade I was banned from participating in my classes because I talked TOO much. Over a decade later, my talkativeness and over-participation are still prevalent.


Why do I tell this rather humbling story?


Well, perhaps you are somewhat like little Mary Kate and suffer from spiritual stage fright. Maybe you would rather hide behind your problems and only speak to God in quaint, clean, quick prayers when absolutely necessary. Maybe even liturgies and congregational confession feels awkward just as I felt awkward singing "Happy Birthday" in a crowd.


Friends fear not. Take courage in knowing that our God can handle our messiest, weirdest, scariest prayers. He is our teacher that graciously answers all of our questions. He will not turn you away. What would happen if you prayed boldly? What would happen if you dared to ask Him that one thing you're holding back? He is our good Father. He is waiting to hear from you. You need not be scared to talk to Him. He will not be like my fifth-grade teacher and ban you from asking questions.


What would happen if we were like our spiritual mentors in Acts 4 who prayed so boldly that the building SHOOK? This event which we read today in Acts 4 is not some once-in-a-lifetime thing. It is not something that only happened in the olden days or the early church. Friends, our God is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore--He moved mountains and shook floors then, He will do it now, and He will do it until He comes again. You simply must ask.


I know it is easy to stick to our monotonous breath prayers (which there is nothing inherently wrong with) in the comfort of our suburban easy-going central Columbus homes. However, this week I want to challenge you to shake some floors. Break free from the shackles of fear in bringing your deepest desires and longings to the Father. Pray BOLDLY for Sally Sue's cancer to be healed. Pray BOLDLY for that relationship with your estranged father to be strengthened. Pray BOLDY for your co-worker to come to Christ. Pray BOLDLY for your child to not be bullied this year at school. Pray BOLDLY for Columbus City Schools. Prayer BOLDLY for that job promotion. Pray BOLDLY for the strength to forgive the one who so deeply hurt you. Pray BOLDLY in all circumstances, friends, because we serve a God who defeated death!



*Picture was taken at the Western Wall (aka Wailing Wall) in Jerusalem, Israel--a place where Jewish people go to boldly deliver prayers to God.


PRAYER PRACTICE

Spend time meditating. Clear your mind of any and all distractions, breathe deep in the presence of the Holy Spirit and breathe out everything that clouds your mind. Thank the Lord that He hears all of our cries and pleas before we bring them to Him. Now lay your bold prayers at His feet. Every single possible thought and pray you have, He is waiting and He is all ears.






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