“But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earth-quake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.” Acts 16:25-26
Recently, a door I thought was certain for us to go through suddenly shut. And in my heart it felt like a giant slam on my face. It left me shaken and sent me to my cage of shame and fear. I just wanted to hide from the world.
Have you experienced something similar — where you feel stuck and uncertain not knowing what your next step should be or maybe you feel like you are hiding in an invisible cage of fear and shame?
The story in the book of Acts, Paul and Silas shows us how we can come out of our own prison.
Rather than focus on being chained up and locked in a cold prison cell — they looked to God and and worshiped Him. It’s midnight and they are praying and singing not only for their benefit but also for the other prisoners.
Have you ever had those nights when sleep just seems beyond your reach and all you really want is to fall asleep? It’s hard to sleep when your heart feels like it’s locked up in a prison of pain and the fear of the future weighs heavily on your mind.
In those moments, maybe the best thing we can do is pray and worship like Paul and Silas. I do not have the gift of singing but I can belt out my worship to God when I’m alone or hum quietly when others are around.
We can always pray. God’s Word says to pray unceasingly. I don’t know how this is possible but it was one of the things that Billy Graham aimed for and he said it was the key to his lifelong walk with God.
Back to Paul and Silas — suddenly their circumstance is completely changed. Why? Because God shows up and the doors fling open and the chains just fall off.
Their worship and prayers invited the manifest presence of God to come and everything changed. Suddenly.
So I’m praying and worshiping and the peace which surpasses all human understanding fills my heart and my spirit is lifted. The heaviness and the chains have fallen off. The prison doors have opened and I walk free re-aligned as a child of God, as a daughter of the King of kings.
The door that closed for us recently— I’m not as bummed about it. Sometimes, God closes door and while I don’t understand why, I’m choosing to trust Him and believe that it was for our own good.