Summary: The purpose of this sermon is to remind the believer that nothing should hinder his prayer and praise life. (The joy of the Lord is our strenght)
In our text, Paul and Silas encountered a young lady with the spirit of divination. She was used by many for material gain. She was a kind of fortune teller, a sooth sayer, a voodoo girl. Many days she would follow Paul and Silas refering to them as men of the most high God. But one particular day Paul cast out the demonic spirit. She became a Voo don’t girl! This cause those who profited by her exploits to become angry. They then beat paul and Silas with rods and threw them into prison. Here are the servants of God in a dark, cold and loathsome prison. Their backs dripping with blood and their feet shackled with wooden stocks.The bible says that during their imprisonment, they sang and praise God during the midnight hour. But while they were praying and singing God sent the earth into a spasm using a great earthquake. The prison doors blew open and every man’s bands’s came loosed. I tell you, there is Liberating Power in an Unhindered Prayer and Praise Life. The scientist would say that the earthquake open the prison doors without God. But I would ask, Who loosen every man’s chains? Oh scientist, Give God glory! Observe that God not only liberated the Apostles but all the prisoners also. He not only liberated the prisoners but He liberated the young girl also. She was a prisoner outside the walls of the prison. There are two kind of prisoners. One who in prison and one in whom prison is in. Many people today are in prison. They are in the cell of oblivion. They are in the cell of fear. They are in the cell of addiction. They are in the cell of hopelessness. They are in the of depression. They are in the cell of ignorance. Paul and Silas were placed in a maximum prison. They were kept in maximum security. They were in maximum pain. There was no bail or bailor. But they did not responded with profanity or frustration. Instead they prayed and sang praises to God. What a scene, bleeding backs, cuffed hands and shackled feet; yet praising God. Darkness was at its highest point. It was during the midnight hour. Midnight is a time when life is at its worst. Midnight is a pivotal time. It is a time when a day become another day. A year become a ney year. Midnight is a time when bad news has crushed your life, so that there seem to be no human answer. Yet even at midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing. They were not groaning or cursing. The prisoners were hearing heavenly songs in a maximum prison. The jailhouse becomes a church house. The prison becomes a chapel. A place of new birth and a new life. A house of love and kindness. It is not the place that sanctifies the spirit. It is the spirit that santifies the place. When change hearts enter a prison, a prison becomes a church. But when evil hearts enter a church, a church becomes a prison. When the Holy Spirit indwells a sick body, the hospital becomes a sanctuary.
In the first place, No situation Should Hinder Our Prayer and Praise Life. (Expound)
In the second place, Paul and Silas Taught Us How to Cope With Our Midnight.
In the third place, God is a Midnight Mover.
In the fourth place, Expect a Great Move Of God.
In the fifth place, Experience Immediate Liberation
In the sixth place, The Prison Came Out of the Prisoners.
In the seventh place, The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength.
The joy of His presence. The joy of His friendship. The joy of His power.
Conclusion: Prayer and praise will move heaven and earth. Prayer will empower us. Praise will enliven us. Prayer will bring God down to us. Praise will brings us up to God. Prayer will keep us in this life. Praise will keep the other life in us. Prayer will show us the lily of the valley. Praise will bring before us the bright and morning star. Prayer will keep us going. Praise will carry us through. Prayer will stop a storm. Prayer will bring a rainbow. Prayer will reach up to throne. Praise will bring the throne down. Prayer is talking up to the power. Praise is encountering the power. Prayer is communication in time. Praise is transporation beyond time. Prayer is mitigation. Praise is liberation. One of these days, my soul will be liberated to praise my God forever.
May God Bless and Keep You in His Love
Pastor Rodney L. Johnson Sr.,