What's Wrong with Praying for Protection?

Thought from the Sycomore's weekly reading of Acts 1-7…

Acts 4:29 And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. 30 Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.

To me, this is one of the most powerful prayers that anyone could pray—for more boldness in the midst of threats. It exemplifies not just the courage that we need to represent God in the midst of whatever may be threatening us, but the courage that God has actually set apart and made available for His sons and daughters in all circumstances. What else impresses me about this prayer, however, is what the disciples actually DIDN’T pray for—protection.

This impresses me because as I asked myself what I would have prayed for during such similar circumstances, I most definitely would have prayed for protection. I’ve never really given any second thoughts to this because, well, what’s wrong with asking for protection anyway? But that the disciples didn’t ask for protection when again, I most definitely would have got me thinking. Rather than asking why the disciples didn’t ask for protection, I asked myself why this is oftentimes my default request. Then it hit me. When I pray for protection, that prayer is usually driven more by fear than faith. It’s not that I don’t have faith in God. I do. I realized, however, that I am more fearful of whatever it is that may be threatening me than I am trustful of the fact that God has set aside this profound courage that He will entrust to me to represent Him in those circumstances if I were to simply ask. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with praying for protection. Even Jesus asked the Father for protection for His disciples (John 17). The big difference, however, is that His prayer for protection was not fear driven, but motivated by His faith in the Father’s faithfulness to watch over His friends. Though I am not going to stop praying for protection, I am, however, going to be far more aware of what’s driving that prayer—fear or faith. I pray that it is faith. #desiringGod2017

Love, Sam