Paul and Silas, after being beaten severely, and taken to a dark, dungeon prison, were praying and singing (imagine!) around midnight. They probably were singing at that hour because they were in such pain that they couldn’t rest their weary heads. They were singing despite their pain, despite their chains of being in prison. They were praying possibly for themselves, but I have to wonder if they weren’t praying for their persecutors and others in bondage there because look what happens next. The guard and his family are brought to a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus. God causes the earth to quake and everyone’s chains fall to the ground. Oh, the power of praise to an almighty Power who not only heard their cries, but set them all free.
They could have sat there in their misery and nursed their wounds but they sang. Does that get to you the way it does me? Have you ever not felt like going to church, but you did it, and later realized how much better you felt? God takes those sacrificial praise moments and uses them to bless us. Our attitude toward our situation is often the only thing within the realm of our control. And we often can’t shake it off on our own very well.
My mother used to say, “Young lady, you need an attitude change right now.” I didn’t deserve the respect of being called a young lady at those times, so it was probably more of a reminder of how I was supposed to act, but it meant I better straighten up or else. Not sure what “or else” meant, but I knew I feared it. Today, I find myself needing an attitude change, not because of a beating like Paul and Silas, not because of an admonition from my mother, but because I know God desires more than I have to offer in this state. Bound by sadness over the anniversary of the loss of one of my children’s best friends and a self focus, I’m truly of little use to myself much less anyone else this morning. To be fit for Kingdom use, I must call upon His Name and watch the chains fall again. He’ll do it for the asking. I need only to start the praise music and call on Him in prayer. He’s gracious to save me not only eternally but each day, each hour. I love that about my God. He delivers me from myself. He delivers me to the joy of His realm here on earth right here in the moment. Bless His mighty Name.