“A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.
Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.” (Acts 16:22-34 NLT)
What baffles me about this passage of scripture is when I picture myself in Paul & Silas’ shoes – beaten severely, in prison without reason, and inside the inner dungeon with no hope of getting out anytime soon. I’m sure they were in major pain and probably scared, hungry, and who knows what other emotions they were feeling. Yet in that moment they chose to worship God and to pray. It’s INCREDIBLE really. They had a secret – they knew the power of prayer above any circumstance visible to the human eye. They knew that no matter what, God had their back. Even if they were to die in that inner dungeon, they knew they were saved and would spend eternity with their savior. But they weren’t worried about that. They were too busy rejoicing and praising God for the privilege of doing His work and seeing lives set free and saved.
So take a look at yourself. What situation are you in right now? What brick wall is in your way right now with no visible way around it? Are you exhausted? Financially stressed? Facing medical issues or relationship problems….? Fill in the blank. We all have our prison cells in different seasons, but we don’t have to stay in them. The great news is God has the answer! He’s just waiting for us to stop what we’re doing, put the breaks on the worry train, and kneel before Him to pray. There are countless verses in the Bible on prayer – and they always end with the fact that God WILL answer our requests! Take a look at Mark 11:24 – “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Also see these verses on prayer: Phillipians 4:6-7, Romans 12:12, Matthew 18:20, Hebrews 4:16, Matthew 6:6, James 1:6, James 5:16, 1 John 5:15, Acts 16:25, Acts 1:14, John 15:16, John 14:13
One of our highest priorities at our NHiM store is to ask people what they need prayer for. We want to remind people that God cares about them and that He wants to answer their requests. So we write it down in our prayer book and pray over these requests. And it’s amazing how God is using this simple request to encourage people right in the mall, and remind them of His love for them.
So today, as you go about your business, start a habit of praying without ceasing. Put your trust in Him that He DOES hear you and He WILL answer your prayer. Look for opportunities to ask someone what they need prayer for, and if you feel led, pray for them on the spot. Ask God to deepen your prayer life and ask Him to help you carve out that time to spend on the spiritual battlefield. And if you get the chance, watch the movie “War Room.” It will change your outlook on how powerful and effective our prayers are.
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