The more the early Christians were persecuted, the more they prayed for boldness to witness. Nothing was going to stop the spread of the gospel.
God doesn't spare us the persecution, in fact, putting us through it is something He can use to strengthen us. Our identification with Christ is made stronger when we suffer, particularly when we suffer only because of the fact we belong to Him. Everything that would hinder us from fully following Him is burned away; what is left is our faith, either strong enough to sustain us, or too weak to do any good, most likely not genuine in the first place.
1 Peter 4:13-14
1 Peter 4:16
While the political and social "persecution" we endure in this country is nothing at all compared to the very real tribulations of my brothers and sisters elsewhere, I still find myself reluctant to pray for boldness in witnessing - perhaps because I fear God will answer that prayer. Is my faith strong enough to withstand true persecution? Have I counted the cost?
"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.