Summary: The purpose and power of praise!!!
Acts 16:22. Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods.
23. And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.
24. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25. But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
26. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.
27. And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself.
28. But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, "Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.’’
29. Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.
30. And he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’’
31. So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.
So much is said here in this selection of Scripture. I want to look at a few things that were going on. First of all the Apostles Paul and Silas were beaten with rods or some translations say wooden whips. This was not a light thing. It wasn’t a slap on the wrist. This was a severe beating, then they were put in the lowest dungeon in stocks. The jailers life was threatened if they escaped. Yet in the midst of all of this, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to the Lord. They must have been singing loudly because the other prisoners heard them and were listening to them. The other prisoners took notice of these guys singing unto the Lord right after a severe beating in the midst of a stinking depressing dungeon where all the refuse was. They had no running water or flushing toilets there. It wasn’t a good place to be in, but they were praying and singing hymns unto God. Guess what, God showed up in a big way. They were rejoicing in the Lord in the midst of what looked to be total failure and defeat. The prisoners weren’t the only ones who were listening. The Lord God was listening as well, because the Word goes on to say, suddenly there was a great earthquake; the prison was shaken to its foundations, all the doors flew open and the chains of every prisoner fell off. The jailer immediately asked what must he do to be saved. I believe the glory of God filled that place, because the jailer repented and believed and received the Lord Jesus. There was no preaching no sermon no great moving choir that brought tears to everyone’s eyes. Just a couple of beaten prisoners singing praises unto God from their hearts.
Jesus said in Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.’’
He was right there in their midst. Yet instead of moaning and complaining about the circumstances they were praising God. I dare say very few of us have been severely beaten for the cause of Christ and then thrown in the bottom of a dungeon. If we had, would we be praising God and singing hymns?
I would say most of us gripe and complain every time a red light takes too long or when somebody cuts us off in traffic. People hear alright, but most often it is not praying and the singing of hymns that they are hearing is it? No wonder we don’t see the glory of God like they did! We are in the same church, the same body of Christ, the same dispensation of grace. If we want to see the same kinds of miraculous acts we have to start following the examples set before us! What an awesome example that was set. The building was shaken to it’s foundation. Glory to God.
They weren’t mealy mouthed little songs where no one heard but the cockroaches. The other prisoners heard and were listening to them. They sang out loud right in front of them all. They weren’t shy about their love for God were they? Out of the abundance of their hearts their mouths spoke and sang God’s glory. No wonder God showed up. He inhabits the praises of his people. This was true worship. He inhabited their praises. He was there with them. They gave God a place to move because of their praises. If they had been gripping and complaining they would have stifled the flow of God, and on top of everything else the jailer and his family would not have gotten saved would they? No, instead of ushering in the presence of God into that place, they would have opened the door to the destroyer.