“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.”
How do you handle it when things don’t go so well for you in ministry and the people don’t receive your message? Do you complain to God? Do you give up and quit? Do you speak ill of those who oppose you?
Paul and Silas’ response was to worship with their whole hearts.
God had sent them to Philippi to preach the gospel, and there they were accosted, falsely accused, severely beaten and thrown in prison. There, in the middle of the night, locked in stocks so that they couldn’t even nurse their wounds or recline to sleep, they praised the Lord.
Their midnight praise & prayer session became a jailhouse concert, because as they ignored the pain of their circumstances to focus on the glory of their God, all the other prisoners were listening to them. And that’s no surprise. Would you not take notice if you saw people in such a trying situation praising the Lord with their whole hearts and calling upon His name?
They had been placed in an inner cell, because the jailers thought it would make it impossible for them to break free; but it appears that it was really God’s plan, putting them at center stage so that all in the place could hear them glorify Him and know that He is God and the God who saves.
The freedom their souls had found in Christ Jesus was so great that the walls of a prison couldn’t contain their testimony of faith or restrain their passion for God.
If you’ve got the “winter blahs” or things just aren’t going all that well for you, remember to focus your attention on the God who is bigger than your problems and circumstances, and give thanks all the more. What a witness it will be to unsaved family members, friends, or coworkers who know what you’re going through if you live your life not complaining, but saying, “Hallelujah” and giving Him honor in the midst of difficult times.
Because the unsaved people around you go through tough times, too. They might even be in the same “prison” you’re in. And if you praise Him, they will be listening. And it just might make them want what you have to be thankful for.
Don’t let any circumstance keep you from saying “Blessed be the name of the Lord.” If anyone had a reason not to praise the Lord, Paul and Silas did. But they rose to the challenge and praised Him anyway. And God was glorified. Their hearts were already free, and because they praised Him, their bodies were also set free from prison later that night, with the family of the jailer who had imprisoned them becoming Philippi’s next converts for Jesus.