August 22, 2017

What a Time for Singing!

Acts 16:16-34

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God. . . .

—  Acts 16:25

A strange thing happened on the way to a prayer meeting; Paul and his traveling companions were met by a slave girl “who had a spirit by which she predicted the future.” For several days she followed Paul, disrupting his attempts to spread the good news of Jesus in Philippi. When Paul cast out the evil spirit that controlled her, her owners got upset because they could no longer use her to make money. So they dragged Paul and Silas to court, where they were charged with causing a disturbance. The magistrates ordered them to be stripped, beaten, and sent to jail.

Locked securely in an inner cell, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God around midnight. We do not know what they sang, but we are told that “the other prisoners were listening to them.” Then, when an earthquake shook open all the prison doors and loosed everyone’s chains, no one escaped. The jailer, who was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had gone, rushed in and instead found new life in Christ as Paul and Silas shared the good news.

When you find yourself faced with difficulties, consider the response of Paul and Silas and ask yourself, “Do my prayers and songs reflect the awesome grace of God? Will people be moved to ask, ‘What must I do to be saved?’”

Lord, when things go wrong in our lives, guide us to turn to you in prayer and singing so that others will come to know the One who has opened the way to abundant and eternal life. Amen.

About the author — John Van Schepen

Dr. John Van Schepen is a retired pastor who served churches in Washington, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oregon and California. He and his wife, Willie, have been blessed with five children and several grandchildren.

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