Praise in the Prison
And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. (Acts 16:25-26)
People who think if they obey God, everything will go smoothly, haven’t read the Bible. Acts 16 illustrates precisely the opposite. While following God, Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into stocks. Paul explained later in his epistles that an angel of Satan was sent to buffet, or strike him, repeatedly. This was such an attack.
What was Paul’s and Silas’s response to such extreme affliction and persecution? At midnight, the time that night is it’s darkest, in the deepest, darkest place in the prison, they began to pray and sing praises to God. What type of prayer do you believe prompted praise? Paul and Silas weren't praying, “Lord, why did this have to happen to me?” They weren’t complaining about their situation. That type of prayer is not praise. They likely prayed a prayer of thanksgiving - not thanking God that they were in the situation but thanking God despite the situation. That prayer got them so excited that they sang exuberantly to God - so loudly that all of the other prisoners heard them. They weren’t ashamed to praise. Suddenly not only were Paul’s and Silas’s stocks loosed, the chains and doors of everyone in that prison were opened.
The devil wants us to attack other people when we’re in a rough spot, but we should refuse to give in to his pressure. Our enemy is not people; it is the devil who uses people. Complaining and attacking others won't improve any situation, but praising God will!
Practical Application – When you get upset about situations or people, pause to pray and praise. Don’t praise because of the situation, praise God because He is greater than the situation.
2 Corinthians 12:7; Psalm 149:6