Prayer and Praise in a Dungeon
“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.”
James 5:16 (NLT)
Prayer has been described as ‘the secret weapon of the Kingdom of God!’ It is a smart bomb that can be fired towards any spot on earth; travel undetected at the speed of thought, and hit its target every time. Prayer means that there is always something we can do in every situation.
That’s what Paul and Silas did! Notice the dire situation they found themselves in here in Acts 16:23-24, “They were severely beaten and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks”. Here we have two of God’s servants in great pain and bleeding from this beating with wooden rods, in a dark dank cell with their feet in stocks. What do they do? Feel sorry for them selves; moan about this cruel treatment, get angry with God for allowing this to happen? No! These guys did the best thing they could do in this situation—read verse 25: “Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.” (Italics mine). And guess what? Surprise, surprise, once again the great God of the universe intervenes in response to the prayers and praise of his children. Verse 26 tells us that “Suddenly there was a massive earthquake and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!” As the founder of the Salvation Army, General William Booth once observed, And God said “Amen!” with an earthquake!
Let’s focus now on the attitude of Paul and Silas towards the jailer who had treated them so cruelly and had clamped their feet in the stocks. Were they angry, were they bent on revenge against this individual? Not at all, in fact in answer to his question about the way to salvation (verse 30), they told him about Jesus and he became converted. Now as a Christian, notice his change of attitude; verses 33-34, that same hour the jailer washed their wounds and he and everyone in his household were immediately baptised. Then he brought them into his house and set a meal before them. So God not only provided deliverance for his servants in this situation but he also added a new family of faith to his spiritual family!
You know, it is so true that; “Praise overheard is evangelism!”
Father you are so amazing and so powerful; everything in this great wide universe is under your control and the most beautiful thing is that you are only a whisper and a breath away from every one of us.
Study by Cliff Neill
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
LUTON LU1 5JE
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