Verse 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
Today’s reading is long but what a great story! This city had become a place of great familiarity to Paul, Silas, Timothy and Luke. They were making themselves at home here for a little bit as they established the first church of Europe. They made a routine of prayer and worship and that caught the attention of an evil spirit that inhabited a slave girl.
This slave girl started following them around day after day saying that they were there with the Gospel. Paul became so annoyed at the spirit that after many days he turned around, rebuked the demon and cast him out of the girl. Since that demon helped the girl predict the future and her masters hoped that would bring them great wealth, they became very upset to know she was no longer able to make her predictions. They grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them in front of the town officials claiming that they were causing an uproar in the town and going against the Romans.
The crowd joined in the attack causing a real uproar and making it so that Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into prison. None of us would be happy to be in that position and yet Paul and Silas were not upset at God for not keeping them safe and happy. They weren’t just thrown into prison, they were thrown into the deepest bowels of the jail. Instead of sitting there, complaining to the waiting ears of their fellow prisoners, they start praying and singing. The other prisoners probably couldn’t believe their ears and listened intently to what they were saying and singing.
In the midst of the praise service an earthquake rocks the town and the prison is demolished but none of the prisoners escape. This opens the door for sharing the Gospel with the jailer and his family leading to more converts for the new church. The town leaders find out their big mistake of having whipped and jailed Roman citizens and knowing that could cause them major grief they walk them out of the rubble of the jail and ask them to leave the city in peace.
Before leaving they stop back to Lydia’s house to say their goodbyes and encourage the young church to carry on. Notice that there are men and women now meeting together. The Church of Philippi was already starting to grow. Paul and his fellow missionaries could leave with hearts full of joy.
Making It Personal
Do you find it easy to pray and praise in the midst of trials? Have you ever been threatened because of your faith? Do you rejoice when new believers are added to the Church?
Making It Personal Kids
Is it easy to praise God when you feel like you have been wronged? How could choosing to praise Jesus in the bad times help others get to know Jesus? Does it make you happy to share Jesus with others?
Father, thank You for the example of Paul and Silas praising You in jail. Help us remember that when we are living for You we can know that we are never alone when others despise us for Your sake. And help us rejoice when others come to know You as Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.