“Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable Your servants to speak Your Word with great boldness.” Acts 4:29
A blood-spattered Bible, retrieved from the Deeper Life Church in Gombe state after a Jan. 5, 2012, attack by Boko Haram militants, is a graphic symbol of what it means to be a Christian in northern Nigeria. Church leader Chenma Ngwaba was speaking during a Thursday evening prayer meeting when three young extremists suddenly began firing weapons through the church window. “They were shooting everybody there,” said Chenma, who lost his wife and 10-year-old son that night. Chenma’s six-month-old daughter survived, but eight other believers were killed, and more than 20 were injured.
Despite horrific attacks like these, courageous believers at the Gombe church and others throughout Nigeria refuse to give in to fear. “Christians are not discouraged,” said Rev. Dr. Soja Bewarang, president of the Church of Christ in Nigeria. “We believe the scripture that Jesus told us, that if they persecuted Him they will do the same to us. We are not discouraged, but rather our faith on a daily basis has been increased.”
This true story was taken from the Voice of the Martyrs November 2012 newsletter. Intense suffering and persecution are still very real threats to Christians around the world. And yet, even under to most dangerous and intense situations, they do not pray that the persecution would stop, but that they would be faithful and bold for Christ in the midst of it. Can you imagine having such daring faith after losing both your wife and son right before your eyes? Where do these believers get such boldness and passion for the Gospel?
The only possible answer is from Christ through the Holy Spirit. Just as Peter and John prayed thousands of years ago for boldness and not relief, faithful disciples of Christ today are doing the same. What about you? Are you praying for deliverance from hard circumstances, or the boldness to walk through them faithfully so that Christ’s power is displayed through your life?
Dear Father, so often I lack boldness in my faith. I need courage that only Your Spirit can give. Please help me to rely on Your power and not my own to speak the truth of Your Word with conviction and compassion. Make me an effective witness of the Gospel. Thank You for Your faithfulness to my brothers and sisters in Nigeria and for their example of what it means to stand boldly for You. In Jesus’ name, amen.