Purposeful Prayer Leads to Joy
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)
Think of the worst prison cell you could imagine. Now add in pitch-black darkness. On top of that, add the worst stench you have ever smelled in your life. Paul and Silas, while doing God's will, were cast into not only a prison cell but the darkest, worst part of the prison that was reserved for the most dangerous and most heinous of criminals.
Paul and Silas didn’t complain, but their voices also didn’t immediately turn to joy-filled songs. They began with prayer. This was not a prayer of complaint; they didn’t complain to God about the situation, nor did they go on about their unjust and harsh treatment. Too many Christians treat prayer as a complaint session with their Father, and there is no power in those kinds of prayers. Paul and Silas prayed Biblical prayers. They prayed prayers of thanksgiving amid challenges.
As they prayed, they reminded themselves of God’s goodness. They allowed their outlook to change by acknowledging God amid a difficult situation. Eventually, their prayer erupted into joyful song, praising the Lord. The earth responded to their praise by shaking and quaking so that the metal holding them was broken loose, freeing them from the difficulty of their situation.
If, when you pray, you don’t get filled with joy to move forward, you didn’t pray long enough. Pray long enough for your faith to be built up in expectation of the goodness and power of God to be displayed.
Practical Application – What are you dealing with today? Don’t complain to God. Begin in prayer and end in praise and watch your problems turn to your promotion!
Psalm 18:3; Psalm 21:13