«l will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being» (Psalm 104:33).
IF THERE IS a case of praise to God in the Bible that surprises us because of the difficulty of the situation in which the people who sang to the Lord found themselves, it is that of Paul and Silas. This story is told in Acts 16. First, both disciples were taken before the Philippian authorities, accused of disturbing the city with their teachings and customs. The people rose up against them, tore off their clothes, and beat them with rods (verse 22). After having severely flogged them (something which Paul would have been able to avoid because of being a Roman citizen, but did not use that reason in his defense), they put them in jail, in the inner dungeon and with their feet in stocks (verses 23, 24). Here we have two faithful disciples of Christ, shut up in a part of the jail where light and air did not reach them, with bodies sore from the lashes received and their feet in stocks so they could not escape.
«But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God» (verse 25). The conditions were atrocious; that explains why they could not sleep, but how do we explain how, in those conditions, they could pray and sing to the Lord? It is quite the example for us today, two thousand years later. The habits these two men had were not altered by the darkest circumstances. It is possible to be in the deepest pit and even so, recognize that God knows everything, can do everything, and gives us the strength we need to endure the pain.
Can you imagine what was going through the minds of the other prisoners who were listening (see verse 25)? Rarely would sounds that were not complaints, insults, and bad words be heard in a prison. However, here were two good men, accused unjustly of doing evil, suffering physically and emotionally, who had the strength to sing, pray, and praise God, thus giving a resounding witness of what the Lord does for His faithful children.
What words come out of your mouth when you are going through a difficult trial? Are they words of prayer, of praise; of blessing, patience, and hope? Or is it just the opposite? We can grow a lot in our habits of praise with the help of God.