Praying and Praising
A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.
Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!”
The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.
Acts of the Apostles 16:22-34 NLT
Paul and Silas were preaching in Philippi when a slave girl started following them and shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved.”
The girl had earned a lot of money for her masters by telling fortunes for people. Paul cast the evil spirit out of the girl. Her masters got mad and dragged Paul and Silas before the city officials and told lies. Paul and Silas were Jews, so the Roman officials didn’t even give them a chance to defend themselves. They ordered them beaten and thrown into prison. The officials put them in the inner dungeon.
But at midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and praising God. I understand the praying—but the praising? Most of us would be praying for deliverance. Few of us would be praising God in the middle of our pain, suffering, and uncertainty of the future.
God sent an earthquake to shake the prison and release all the prisoners. The jailer awoke, saw the open door, and thought everyone had escaped. Paul told him all the prisoners were there. The jailer and his household then got saved and cared for Paul and Silas.
Several miracles occurred in this story. First, the slave girl was delivered—without a lot of fanfare. Paul just spoke the word of authority, and the evil spirit departed.
Second, Paul and Silas were able to sing praises at midnight in prison. That was a miracle of God’s peace and presence in the middle of their pain and desperation.
Third, God sent an earthquake to free all the prisoners. Fourth, none of the prisoners escaped. And, finally, the jailer’s entire household was saved.
It may seem like the darkest part of your life—but when we learn to lean into God’s presence despite our pain or uncertainty, we can expect to see God show up and show off. Can you sing in the middle of your pain? Is your faith strong enough to rejoice when there seems to be no way out?
God loves to show up and show off in the worst moments of life. Our praise always gives Him a chance.
Holy Spirit, help me be a person of praise in the good times and the bad times. Help me to practice Your presence wherever I am. Help me to trust You all the time.
Scroll down to share what you feel God is saying to you based on today’s reading.