Paul and Silas were ministering in the city of Philippi. A demon-possessed slave girl was delivered from the power of Satan over her life. Because her owners no longer were able to make money from her, they had Paul and Silas thrown into prison. They were beaten, shackled, and thrown into the dungeon. The account in Acts 16 relates something unusual and powerful that happened in that prison. “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed” (Acts 16:25-26).
Paul and Silas were able to pray and sing praises to God in their prison. From these verses we too can learn the power of a praise-filled life. They were able to overcome overwhelming circumstances through their praise. Perhaps you have never been beaten or shackled and thrown into a prison. But I am sure you have found yourself locked into other kinds of prisons. Painful circumstances and confining environments are just a part of life. But if we can just learn to praise our gracious God in the prison of our own circumstances, we too may find God opening the doors for us.
I noticed also Paul and Silas’s praise filled life got the attention of others. Did you notice that Paul and Silas’s fellow prisoners were listening? We never know who may be around us listening and watching. We never know who may be influenced by how we react to the difficulties we face.
Another result of Paul and Silas’s praise-filled life is that a jailer was converted. God used an earthquake, a near prison break, and those joyful midnight hymns to awaken and save this tough Roman jailer.
Can you sing in your prison? Can you rejoice in the Lord when you are hurting? My friend there is so much power in a praise-filled life. And you never know who may be listening.