“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 everybody’s chains came loose.” (Acts 16:25-26)
Paul and Silas had been stripped and beaten before being thrown into prison. Their ‘crime’ was related to their involvement in having a demon driven out of a slave girl. She had been making money for her ‘handlers’ through fortune-telling. She also seemed to have insight as to the identity of Paul and Silas. Although the annoying girl was set free, she was also now no longer profitable for her owners. Paul and Silas paid the price by losing their freedom!
One of the aspects of this account that impresses me comes right at the beginning of verse 25 – “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying…” I have to admit that I am usually asleep at that time of the day. Maybe they were ‘night people.’ Maybe they just could not get comfortable in their quarters. Their feet were in the stocks – with their legs spread as far apart as possible, in the most secure part of the prison. They also were conducting a ‘hymn sing’ while awaiting their fate. What a strange and interesting scenario.
Well, it was about to get much more interesting! Apparently, their prayers were heard by the Almighty God of the universe. With no warning – no siren, no loudspeaker, no emergency broadcasting system available to alert those involved – a violent earthquake shook the foundations of the prison. Can you just see the prison doors flying open and the heavy chains coming loose? What a chance for freedom.
Interestingly enough, one of the guards was also one who experienced the greatest freedom. Instead of taking his own life, he sought the true source of life. He and his family found faith in Jesus Christ. What a night! What a prison stay! What a powerful God we serve and can call on!
This summer, many of us are learning how to better tell others about our powerful Savior. We are reading a book called Share Jesus Without Fear. Please feel free to join one of the three groups meeting to discuss this. I wonder too if we could enlist everyone to SJWF – Seek Jesus Without Fail. Even if you are not in a group, everyone can be a part of a prayer effort to ‘shake some foundations.’ Think of how people could be set free from their chains and experience new life in Christ.
You can pray at midnight or whenever you would like to. God will hear as we unite to Seek Jesus Without Fail. It is hard to know how our Lord will remove obstacles and arrange appointments. But if we join together and seek Him out, many will hear the truth about Jesus our Savior.