"About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose" - Acts 16:25-26 (NIV).
A prison is normally any confined place where one is held in custody with limited access to people and normal comforts. Prisons can serve the purpose of punishment for certain wrongs committed and possibly yield repentance and a commitment to reform. Prisons are definitely nasty experience and depending on where one is some might even involve gross acts of misconduct unleashed by terrible prison warders. Most of us would rather avoid a prison, if we can.
If one is ever in prison the hours can be long and the days endless. Prisons are often confined places with poor light and ventilation, and there is a lot one can grieve over.
What do you do when you find yourself in a prison? When the Apostle Paul and his companion Silas found themselves held in one prison for preaching Good News other than pout and question God for letting them be imprisoned, instead they focused on "praying and singing hymns to God" unlike other prisoners. It is through these circumstance, of having an attitude of praise, when everything seemed closed on them; that God came through and loosened the chains holding them down.
There are many other types of prisons other than being held behind confined walls. Loneliness can be a form of prison where one lacks normal company to share life with. It is possible for someone to be surrounded by others yet not share much in common. Certain trials can be a form of prison with life bringing little to cheer.
Through the example of Paul and Silas we know a prison experience can be overcome by "prayer and praise!" What prison are you locked in- may the good Lord give you the grace to "pray and praise" even when down and He will bring down those walls.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I pray that whatever the prison I find myself in, I may pray and praise you, waiting on you to bring down the prison walls and set me free, this I pray in Jesus name.
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“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”- (Philippians 4:6).
Perhaps you have heard of a certain old magical trade known as mind reading. According to this trade which has been around for millenniums and has its share of tricksters, mind readers are able to discern thought patterns of individuals before they even utter a word. There are places in the world where this, as expected, is a lucrative occupation, with practitioners, often crafty magicians, demanding hefty fees, just to tell thoughts of others.
As Christians, of course, we have an all knowing God, who has said, “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” ( Mathew 6:8). Further, our Lord has pointed out, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” ( Mathew 6:7). As Christians when we come to God, we do so with full confidence, that He already knows our needs and will meet them according to his glorious riches in heaven.
Of particular interest for us here is that while God perfectly knows our needs before we even dare utter a single word, still it is incumbent upon us to make our requests known to Him. A parent may have long noticed a child has a need for a new pair of shoes; but it is another dimension, when the child does come out and share aloud that his pair is worn out, hurting and is quite in need of a new one. The parent takes notice, especially when the matter is presented with such conviction and urgency. This is why Hannah cried out to God for a child ( 1 Samuel 1:9-18).
In our relationship with God, as the Apostle Paul advises us, it is not just enough to assume and let matters be, that after all God knows all our needs, but we too bear a responsibility to make our requests known to Him. Once we are done with that, we let God do His part, allowing “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” ( Philippians 4:7) to flood us.
So, today, do not hold back your needs from the Almighty God. He has paved the way to walk to Him through His son Jesus Christ, to present your case, bear out your heart’s desire, and let Him do His part!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise to make my requests known to you, knowing you have heard me even before I utter a single word, assured that you will meet each and every one of my needs, according to your glorious riches in heaven!