“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” ‒ Acts 16:25 (NIV)
Paul and Silas have just been thrown into prison. In a terrible place, in a situation that robs those in it of hope and joy, we find these two followers of Jesus praying and singing worship songs. That’s remarkable to me.
Often, when I’m in the middle of a circumstance not of my choosing, my first response isn’t what we see Paul and Silas doing. Instead, I’m complain-praying, explaining to God how wrong this is and how He needs to fix it so I can get back to what I was doing.
The key part of this verse is at the end: “…and the other prisoners were listening to them.” When we talk about what’s happening in our lives, others are listening. They’re watching what we do, listening to what we say, and evaluating whether it lines up with what we say we’re about and what we say we believe. Our lives are our testimony.
When I read this verse, I’m challenged to pray and sing when there’s unexpected adversity in my life. It’s counterintuitive for me, but real prayer can happen in moments like this. And the “other prisoners” are listening.
- William Attaway