originally written in 2009 for All Saints Church
Acts 16:22The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose.
So here are two men, Paul and Silas, who have been stripped (humiliated in public) and severely flogged. They were then dragged to the jail and harshly thrown into their dungeon prison cell with the dregs of society. They then had their feet thrust into stocks. Can you imagine the physical and emotional pain that they must have been experiencing?
Yet, what does it say that they were doing at midnight? Praying, singing, and evangelizing (the other prisoners were listening to them). This brings new meaning to praising the Lord at all times in all circumstances!
I don’t know about You, but when I have a rough week you know what do I often do? Grumble and complain. I hate to admit it, but I have to be honest with you. This is something that I have really been trying to work on, praising God at all times especially during trials! I want to show you this nugget of truth about praise that the Lord reveals in His Word.
Psalm 8:2 (NIV)
From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
We are all God’s children. We need to act more like children and praise Him in the midst of attacks from the enemy so that the foe and avenger will be silenced! Amen. Do you see that awesome promise? God has ordained praise to silence the foe! When we are praising we are shutting out the lies of the enemy!
Look at what happened directly after Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns of praise:
26Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose.
The foundations of the prison were shaken. The whole prison was set free! Not just Paul and Silas—it says everbody’s chains came loose. Everyone was set free by Paul and Silas when they use the ordained praise that God gave them to silence the enemy. When our witness is praise during trials we are evangelizing and spreading the gospel. Our example of praise can set others free from their prisons.
Let’s take God up on this promise. Let’s make an effort to praise the Lord during our difficult times. Maybe like Paul and Silas we will be set free from whatever prison we are in. Even better, maybe our praises to the Lord will set someone else free!
Until next time blessings and healing