At midnight Paul and Silas worshipped, and praised God (Acts 16:25 WYC).
Just how powerful is praise? And why does giving thanks seem to change the spiritual atmosphere? I’m not sure anyone really knows the answer. But we can look at some of the results. Earlier, I shared the story of the ten-year-old boy who, after being kidnapped, sang praises to God and was released unharmed by his kidnapper.
Here’s another praise-power encounter: After preaching in Philippi, Paul and Silas were dragged out of the marketplace and thrown into prison. After being severely beaten and bound with chains, they began to praise and worship God—and a miracle occurred.
Suddenly, there’s an earthquake. The prison was shaken to its very foundation and the doors flew open and “the chains of every prisoner fell off!” (Acts 16:26). The jailer wakes up terrified, ready to kill himself. But Paul shouted, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!”
What follows is surely the quickest salvation message ever preached. The terrified man simply cries out, “What must I do to be saved?” To which Paul and Silas reply, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30-34).
More amazing things happened. The jailer took Paul and Silas to his home where they told his family about Jesus and “his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.” Wow. Salvations, beatings, prison, rejoicing, more salvations, more rejoicing. The whole account is dizzying.
Praise and thanksgiving seem to lift burdens that nothing else can move. And miracles in the Bible often follow a time of giving thanks. Remember how Jesus thanked God before he fed the 5000? And He cried out, “Father I thank you that you have heard me” (John 11:41) before calling Lazarus forth from the tomb.
Praising and giving thanks are powerless by themselves. But what if they connect us with God? “God inhabits the praises of His people” writes the psalmist (Psalmist 22:3). And when you connect with God, powerful things happen. Lives are changed. Souls are saved. Darkness flees. Grief is lifted.
Perhaps thanking God—even in the midst of our storms–is simply an expression of faith in its purest form. And faith changes things. It was Jesus Himself who reminds us that “all things are possible when we believe” (Mark 9:23).
Lord, tune my heart today to praise and thank you in each situation I face throughout my day. And I thank you in advance for your mighty work. –Amen