There was suddenly . . . a severe earthquake


What do you think Paul and Silas were doing when that earthquake came and their shackles fell away?   They were singing and praising God!   Why, after having just been stripped and beaten, would they even think of this?   Because they knew that God deserves to be praised in every situation.

You might say the earthquake was the effect of Paul and Silas praising God—and maybe it was.   But their prayers and hymns of praise had deeper and more far-reaching effects.   Praising God helped them keep their focus on the Lord and his goodness.   It reminded them of all the blessings they had received from his hand.   And the gratitude that it likely cultivated in their hearts helped them see their predicament through the eyes of faith and trust.   But the effects reached even further.

Hearing these words of praise and thanksgiving coming from two battered and bruised men, the jailer and the other prisoners were able to see God’s goodness at work.   It softened their hearts and moved them to seek God for themselves.   They were amazed at how Paul and Silas’ faith had sustained them through a terrifying earthquake and how it kept them from immediately running away once their chains had broken and the prison doors were flung open.   It affected their jailer so deeply that he not only asked to be baptized, but he also provided for his prisoners’ needs by tending their wounds and offering them a midnight meal.

It’s always the right time to praise God. Sometimes, like Paul and Silas, we will see the practical effects of our prayer.   As we develop a habit of praising God no matter our circumstances, our thoughts will line up with his thoughts.   We will learn to keep our focus on what is true about God, not just about what’s going on at each moment.   It can also touch the people around us and open their eyes to the reality of God’s love and provision.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to praise God in all circumstances.

“Lord, you are worthy of all praise.   Help me practice praising you at every moment and in every situation.”

Psalm 138:1-3, 7-8
John 16:5-11