“Paul and Silas, undaunted, prayed in the middle of the night and sang songs of praise to God, while all the other prisoners listened to their worship. Suddenly, a great earthquake shook the foundations of the prison. All at once every prison door flung open and the chains of all the prisoners came loose.” Acts 16:25-26 TPT
What would our lives look like if we made the conscious decision to praise God, even as we experienced the night of our circumstance and situation?
What would happen, if instead of focusing on the bondage that we may grip our souls and the oppression that may be coming at us from every direction; we instead placed our focus on something much more worthy: Jesus Christ?
I would dare say that Paul and Silas in this prison cell over night had much to complain about. They had much to gripe over and produce an ungrateful spirit within themselves—after all they were locked up for doing nothing but enforcing the Kingdom of God in the world with notable results to follow. However, so many times when we do the right thing, we are often met with opposition, distilled hatred, and a sense of overarching evil that seeks to thwart us from the plan of God in our lives.
Yet, after having been stripped of their clothes and humiliated for simply acting according to the depth of their faith; Paul and Silas chose to praise God. I believe they did not praise Him just for deliverance, or even praise Him because they were hoping for a better outcome than the one, they were currently in. No, they praised God for the simple fact that they could join in the sufferings of Jesus and be united with Him, not only in the power that caused them be put in prison in the first place, but the suffering they currently experienced at the hands of their abusers and oppressors.
We must begin to ask ourselves not only what our focus is on as we praise; but also, why we praise. Is it for a quick deliverance, or an instant gratification of the presence of the Holy Spirit? Or do we praise because we have come to know the goodness of God is forever with us, regardless of what our current circumstances look like or declare?
I love it because as always, God will never leave you empty when you choose to pour out your “whole” self before Him. In their lowest state and very much so a discouraging time; Paul and Silas chose to worship, praise, and rejoice in the truth of their Savior and a loving Father; all the while being locked up, removed from all they knew, and under the drear and gloom of a dark night sky.
This simple truth challenges me, by asking questions that reside at the very core of my being. Do I currently possess the ability to praise God in the “midnight?” You see, midnight is not just a time; but “midnight” can be a place, an individual, a crippling status, or even a frame of mind. Still the question remains: can I praise God in my “midnight?” Subsequently, have I been so convinced of His goodness that regardless of what I experience, good or bad, I can pray, sing songs, and hymns of great freedom; even though I am currently under great bondage? The saying is so true: “only those who are strong, can look in the face of all that is negative and declare positive.” And lastly, does my situations define the extent of my praise? Will I offer God a weak praise, because I am currently in a weak place? Or better yet, does my praise ascend on the broken wings of my worship; since I am broken myself?
I believe these are questions that we must all ask and settle within ourselves. Because the truth remains, that on the other side of pure praise, is powerful provision! As a result of their unselfish praise to God, Paul and Silas were rewarded with a mighty deliverance and the salvation of a people.
Ultimately, my prayer is that I would come to the realization that the power in my praise will not only touch heaven, but it will also bring me freedom, and result in the salvation and great deliverance of other people.
So, what shall I do?
Embrace the Midnight,
Expect the Rays of Morning;
Which rise on the wings of Steady Praise!
With Steady Praise,