Verse 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
Yesterday we looked at praise in the midst of pain and as a result of answered prayer. Hannah was a woman of her word and praised God because He was a God of His word. Today we look into another time of personal trials where praise, even uncertain praise, was raised and led to God being given the glory and lives being changed.
The early church knew that they were not among popular beliefs. Paul and Silas were on a missionary journey. In one place they went to go into the place of prayer when they met a slave girl who had an evil spirit which enabled her to tell the future making lots of money for her owners. After many days Paul had enough of her following them mocking God and he commanded the spirit out of her and it left. Her owners were not happy about what that meant for their financial situation and so they grabbed Paul and Silas and brought them in front of the leaders and claimed they were causing a lot of trouble in the city because they were Jews. So Paul and Silas find themselves in prison but not just in regular prison, they were thrown into the inner dungeon.
The dungeon is where we find them praising. At least they were praying and singing hymns. This praise was not the joyful praise of happy circumstances and answered prayers, no, this was a praise session born from knowing that God was still in charge and that only He could do something about their current situation. This was praise from ultimate trust. “God is in control, if He wants us out there preaching, He will get us out, if not He must have something for us to do in here.”
Have you ever been in that kind of a situation? Not knowing what was going to happen next but choosing to praise anyway? That is the key isn’t it, choosing to praise? It’s easy to praise when things are going the way we want. It is easy to praise when our prayers have been answered the way we want. It is possible to praise when our heart is unsure of which path to take, but how easy is it to praise when we see no possible way out? How easy is it to want to praise when to outsiders it would look like God has abandoned us? Tomorrow we will talk about what could happen if we make that hard choice to praise in the dungeon.
Making It Personal
What was your dungeon experience? Did you try praising in that place when there seemed to be no way out? How did God use that time to build your faith and trust in Him?
Making It Personal Kids
Have you ever been really scared, maybe during a storm or the dark? Have you ever tried singing and praying when you are scared? Try picking a song, maybe Jesus Loves Me to sing the next time you feel scared and see if it helps you feel less scared.
Father, thank You for helping us know that we are never alone and that we are never closer to You than when we sing Your praises and pray to You. Help us turn to You every time we fear. In Jesus’ name, Amen.