A Prayer at Midnight

Read Acts 16:25-34

“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them” (v. 25).
“We must learn from Jesus what our attitude should be when life becomes painful — one of earnest prayer to our Father who is in heaven,” wrote Dennis Kinlaw in his devotional book, This Day with the Master That is just what Paul and Silas did when they were cast into prison.
The dramatic result, of course, was that God answered via an earthquake that opened the prison doors and shook off the chains that bound the two missionaries and other inmates. The quake also awakened the jailer, who feared for his life until Paul spoke encouraging words to him. And best of all, the jailkeeper gave his heart to God!
But these weren’t the only results of that midnight prayer. One that we almost always overlook is mentioned at the end of today’s verse: “and the prisoners heard them.” Scottish preacher George MacDonald picked up on that phrase and preached and wrote a wonderful sermon about it. Think of the prisoners lying in dark, cold, damp cells, perhaps bound with chains, losing hope of freedom with each day that went by. What did Paul’s singing mean to them? How did Silas’s praying affect them? How could it be that someone could sing in the dark night of suffering?
The missionaries’ worship not only brought deliverance — it ministered to others! (Steven E. Hight)
In our darkness do we encourage others?

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