HOW TO SING IN YOUR PRISON”
Acts 16:23-25, “And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.”
Paul and Silas were heading to a prayer meeting when they encountered a girl who was a fortune teller. This was a demonic power that enabled the girl to tell people secrets that nobody knew about. As Paul and Silas were walking, the girl was following and crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God.” Many places in Scripture do we see demons recognizing who Jesus really is and announcing, “I know who you are. You are the Son of God.” (Lk 4:40-41, Matthew 8:28-34, Lk 8:30, Mark 3:11.) Here, the demons in the girl recognize who Paul and Silas were. While everyone else thought they were just regular men, the demons announce to everyone that they are servants of The Most High God. Paul had enough of that and commanded the evil spirit to come out of the girl. Immediately it came out. This did not sit well with the owners of the girl who had made a lot of money through her fortune telling. Because of what Paul had done, they seized both Paul and Silas and threw them in prison.
It was at midnight that Paul and Silas began to pray and sing hymns. Think of that for a moment. Midnight would be considered the darkest hour of the day. I know many times when I am away from my wife and alone at midnight, my mind can begin to become anxious, and the thought of being alone in the dark is not a fun thing. Not for Paul and Silas. So, how could they pray and sing in their darkest hour?
Paul and Silas knew that God is absolutely Sovereign over their lives.
Yes Paul and Silas were thrown into the inner prison for what they did to the owners of the slave-girl. But they also knew that God directs their steps. Paul looked at the inner prison as his next order from God. God will use the evil of people to accomplish His purposes. (Joseph in Genesis 50:20) It was God’s will for Paul and Silas to be in prison because there were people who needed to hear the gospel and be saved. (Acts 16:27-34)
God might have you in a difficult circumstance because there are people who need to hear the gospel in that difficult place. Jesus told Paul in in Acts 18:9-10, that he was not to be afraid of the people. God was going to protect him because there were people whom God had chosen, and Paul was to go there and preach to them so that they would believe.
So, whether you are in an inner prison, or a difficult marriage with an unbeliever, or a difficult work place, could it be that you are there for a purpose? Next time you find yourself in a difficult place, pray and sing songs that praise the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, because He is using you for His purposes, and His purposes might be in an inner prison at midnight.
Although we will encounter tribulation and suffering in this world (John 16:33), we can still sing in our prison because God directs our steps and He watches over us to perform His will. Anything that comes into your life is not an accident. It is the will of your sovereign Father who is good and loves you.