A foxhole prayer is one prayed in distress. The name comes from the holes that soldiers dug for protection during World War II. A foxhole prayer has two characteristics. First this type of prayer involves a bargain: “God, if you get me out of this, I promise I will...” Second, promises made in these prayers are often quickly forgotten.
In today’s passage we see the early church praying during a time of deep distress...but they were not praying a foxhole prayer. Peter and John had been ordered not to teach in the name of Jesus. Despite that threat, they began their prayer by focusing on God’s authority and power. The term they used to address the Lord in verse 24 emphasized that God is the owner or possessor of all things. Everything is under His control.
The quotation from Psalm 2:1–2 in verses 25–26 shows that they viewed their circumstances through the lens of God’s unfolding plan. What they were facing was not unforeseen by God. Not only was this true in their case, but also in the suffering of Jesus Christ. When Pontius Pilate and Herod conspired against Jesus, they did what the Lord “had decided beforehand should happen” (v. 28). Everything was unfolding according to God’s plan.
The believers made two specific requests. First, they asked God to take note of their situation and enable them to speak the word boldly despite these threats (v. 29). Second, they asked God to thwart the religious leaders’ effort to suppress the name of Jesus. Instead of allowing them to silence the mention of His name, they asked the Lord to “perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus” (v. 30).
>> Are you facing a time of deep distress? The Lord takes note of your circumstances and despite the problem, He will accomplish His purpose in your life. Take your troubles to the Lord and ask Him to strengthen you and work through you.
Father, please take note of the threats and temptations we face today. Through perils of both hardship and ease, give us what we need to obey You and bring glory to Your name.