1 Peter 3:14-15 NLT
So don't worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.
A quick course on praying from a position of hope in God.
Hope in God is about the confidence and assurance we have in knowing God's utterly faithful and consistent character. We will remind ourselves of this from three perspectives: OT wisdom from the Psalms, NT gospel teaching from the lips of Jesus, and the Early Church experience of close partnership in Christ.
These three perspectives are very helpful to us, because they build on each other. It's like being held by the glory and majesty of the Father, the reality of Jesus standing with us in our experience, and receiving the witness of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, all at the same time.
This is where our confidence, and our boldness, comes from – not from ourselves.
The Psalmist wrote this poetic line:
This is why I wait upon You, expecting Your breakthrough, for Your Word brings me hope. Psalms 130:5 TPT
The word "wait" in our clock-conscious world is usually about time — watching the clock. Think of it rather, as just watching — as giving our full attention. The photographer with a long lens positioned by the goal area at a football match is waiting to capture the line of the striker's shot to the corner of the net, possibly with the defeated tackle in the background. That is the memorable picture that every editor seeks and the ’togs are waiting, anticipating, ready with full concentration to capture that breakthrough moment when it comes.
The Bible is full of those breakthrough moments, great and small, and as God's people, trusting Him, He expects us to be ready with our shout of praise when they occur.
Jesus taught that we should live so confident in God's providence, that we call it down with a confident spirituality.
Jesus said: "And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.
”For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11:9-10 NLT
He is saying that if a particular ‘door’ has not been opened, or there is something we are not finding and not receiving, it is because the thing happening, has just not happened yet. And so we have a right, even a duty, to KEEP DEMANDING what we know we will receive.
The picture is of someone asleep in the house asleep being woken up to respond to an urgent need – it’s an urgency they will recognise and hurry to meet, because of our continued knocking and calling. There is no shame in continuing to press our need, our request. For the householder, there could be a shame if they are not quick to respond.
Peter takes this way of thinking to people who faced persecution and every form of opposition. They knew the joy of their salvation and their relationship with the Lord, but also found themselves in a spiritual battle which brought the devil’s threats and fear.
He wrote to them:
And don’t be intimidated or terrified by those who would terrify you. But give reverent honour in your hearts to the Anointed One and treat Him as the holy Master of your lives. And if anyone asks about the hope living within you, always be ready to explain your faith. 1 Peter 3:14-15 TPT
In the current Ukrainian resistance to that unprovoked and unjust, evil invasion, we see images of street fighting, burned-out military hardware, and refugees in the hundreds of thousands, women and children who need to escape to a safe country.
But listen to the rhetoric that has been reported — the tactics of threats and fear. Where do threats and fear come from? Peter said “Don’t be intimidated… by those that would terrify you”.
And by contrast, hear the tone of those who, despite the odds, the disparity in numbers and equipment, are fully resolved with a confidence to defend the freedom that they know is theirs.
From this we get a picture of the spiritual conflict being waged in the spiritual realm . That’s the dimension that is for un to engage with our Jesus-submitted prayer — while the counterpart to that spiritual conflict is played out on the streets, in the air over the cities and in the convoys.
Keep these three perspectives in mind as you pray for Ukraine today.
- Don't approach God tentatively, as if pleading against His unwillingness. That does not glorify Him! Neither is is the approach off a much-loved child. It’s the approach of someone who doesn’t know Him or trust Him to respond — not a good start.
- Pray with confident hope as one who, in faith, can see what He is doing and in faith agrees with His good actions.
- Praise God that out of evil, suffering and attempted subjugation, He is restoring His love, dispensing His justice, and bringing His righteous kingdom. As only He can.