Acts 4:24: “And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, ‘Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them.'” That’s a great way to start a prayer, especially when I think about the setting here. In Acts 4, the believers are experiencing persecution really for the first time that we see recorded in the New Testament and they’re released in verse 23. They gather together with their friends, they’re talking about what has just happened, the chief priests and the elders have said to them, the threats that have been made against them.
The Bible says, “when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God,” and what were the first words out of their mouth? Their first words were, “Sovereign Lord.” They could have used any number of titles for God at that point and just, “our Father in heaven,” I mean, that’s how Jesus taught us to pray, or a generic term for God; any number of titles, but they used “Sovereign Lord.” “Despotes” is the word there, so despot. When we think of a despot, an authoritative ruler who has sovereign authority, and so it’s good to see the early church in the very beginning, as they’re facing persecution, they’ve got threats coming at them in their lives, their families, and the first thing they do is they look up together to heaven and they confess: “You’re in control.”
Like, “Things seem to be spinning out of control around us, chief priest is wanting to do this, elders want to do this to us, but you’re in control.” Then the rest of the prayer goes on to talk about how … the picture of Jesus was persecuted and Jesus was persecuted ultimately to whatever God’s hand and plan has predestined to take place, so when Jesus was being persecuted, God was the Sovereign Lord. The Father was in control of that and so they realized that, just as the Father was in control when Jesus was being nailed to a cross, the Father is in control as they’re being persecuted.
When you’re facing persecution, it’s good to know your God is sovereign.
That’s encouragement certainly to brothers and sisters around the world who are walking through persecution and suffering in different ways just to know that things are not spinning out of control; that ultimately God is in control of even what is happening, threats coming against them ultimately are under God’s sovereignty, but then just for all of our lives, no matter what is happening in our life, I think about the number of different circumstances in any one of our lives where we might be facing some real struggles right now.
Maybe find ourself in some of the valleys in our life, and things coming against us that we didn’t see coming, and it’s almost like we’re tempted to think things are spinning out of control, it’s good to look up in the very beginning of a prayer and see the King who’s in control, the Sovereign Lord, and to know that He has authority over all things, that He’s ultimately holding all things in His hand, and according to promises later, we know He’s going to work all things together for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose.
I want to pray, and especially pray for those of you who are listening, who may be walking through some difficulties right now, challenges right now. Let’s pray. Sovereign Lord, we confess you’re in control, that there is nothing hidden from you, and that you are ultimately working all things, all things together for the good of those who love you, and have been called according to your purpose. We trust in you, we trust in your sovereignty, we trust in your rulership over all things.
We pray that you’d help us, help us to keep our eyes fixed on you and your sovereign authority. We pray; I pray for brothers and sisters who walking through challenges, that you would give them grace and strength and faith to see your sovereign hand at work, even in things we don’t understand; the mystery of things we don’t understand, and to trust. God, bring it about, work all these things together for the good of those who love you, and have been called according to your purpose. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.