“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God—and the prisoners heard them.”
There’s never a time when they’re not appropriate and we should not hesitate to uplift them with a hot heart and hearty voice.
Prayer and praise.
You would think that someone suffering from “many stripes” (v.23) and false accusations (vv.20-21) would have been down-in-the-mouth and singing “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen” instead of “Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.”
But Paul and Silas weren’t your ordinary, “run-of-the-mill” believers.
They were Spirit-filled. . .Spirit-anointed. . .yea, “Spirit-intoxicated” followers of Christ. And, they “counted it all joy” (James 1:2) when such things happened to them, for they were thankful they were “counted worthy to suffer shame for His Name” (Acts 4:41b). Glory!!
That’s why it didn’t bother them when the owners of the demon-possessed slave girl lied about what they were doing and got them into hot water. Like the owners in the Gadarenes, who cared more for their pigs that had died than they did for Legion, who’d been delivered (Mk. 5:1-17), the slave-girl’s owners cared more for their money than they did the girl’s salvation.
And, dear Pilgrim, don’t be distraught when you see the same thing happening today.
There’ll always be those who care more for the world’s gold than they do God’s Glory. Just because a person darkens the door of a church building every Sunday and even sings in the choir doesn’t mean his/her heart is right with God. And, rest assured, when it comes down to money, a person’s true colors will certainly come out.
Yet, all of that didn’t discourage or deter this “Dynamic Duo.”
Even though their backs were probably bleeding profusely from their beating and their feet and hands were tightly bound by shackles and chains, their spirits were still free to soar Heavenward. And, instead of lying there in that dark dungeon, throwing a pity-party and crying “Poor me,” they began to sing the Doxology and have a Hallelujah Meeting.
It’s interesting that Dr. Luke included the words “And the prisoners heard them.”
That means they weren’t singing in quiet, subdued tones. They were singing at the top of their voices! No doubt some of the prisoners were screaming, “Shut up! Can’t you see I’m trying to get some sleep?!?” But, that didn’t bother them; they just kept on singing loud and long. Hallelujah!!
And, should we be surprised “there was a great earthquake, which shook the foundations of the prison and suddenly all the doors were opened and everyone’s bands were loosed” (v.26)? No, not at all—for the God of Glory loves “Midnight Prayer Meetings” where His Son, Jesus the Christ, is glorified. How wonderful to also read that this Holy Ghost meeting also resulted in the Philippian jailer getting saved, along with his whole household (vv.27-34). So, never hesitate to break forth into prayer and praise wherever you are—for you never know what the Lord will do through such acts of worship. Thank You, Lord.
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated July 31, 2010