Prayer. It is essential to one’s faith journey as a source of strength, comfort, and direction. It is the necessary companion for the Christ follower. I’m reminded of Paul’s trip through Macedonia. Acts 16 reveals the confidence in his calling. He was following God living out His calling. Yet, in the obedient walk, Paul and Silas found themselves shackled in an inner jail cell. Their circumstance didn’t deter their faith, because this God calling fueled them.
By the time you arrive at verse 25, there’s Paul and Silas both praying and singing. They’re praying from the stocks. They’re bound and hindered. They’re praying through a difficult and uncomfortable season. They’re bound not of their design, but through the impediments of others. Yet, limitations don’t deter them. They pray, out loud, for each other, for themselves, for others – the prisoners, guards, magistrate, Lydia, and others. While they carry on a conversation with their Father, others listen quietly to the words, emotions, thoughts, and desires voiced by Paul and Silas. As the fellow prisoners listen, they hear these men break out in song. It’s a hymn medley of praise. In the midst of the request utters a song describing God’s goodness. They sing of God’s ability to rescue them, His love for them, and an amazing grace (not the hymn) from a merciful God available to all. With each word in the song, the room grows brighter. God’s glory is revealed; a glory fills each cell. Attitudes, woes, and hurts are changed. Joy becomes the prevalent emotion displayed by these Christ followers.
When you find yourself shackled in the stocks or worry, fear, pain, disappointment, anger, hurt, or loss, break out in song. Sing a song describing His glory, His mercy, His love, His care, His rescue, or His power. Not only is God listening, but also others going through similar challenges are seeking and searching how to survive. Their only survival tactics may be those learned through observing you. They’ll learn how to pray by listening to you. They’ll learn how to praise by watching you and ultimately in joining you. Pray and sing your way through life’s challenges, God’s listening, others are learning, and attitudes are changing.