Midnight Song Service
Acts 16:16–40; The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 211–220
I worship God when I praise Him no matter what happens.
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God” (Acts 16:25).
Have you ever been blamed for something you did not do? Paul and Silas were beaten and put into prison because men told lies about them, but they still praised and worshipped God.
These men are servants of the Most High God.” The slave girl’s voice rang out as she followed Paul and Silas down the street. She had been following them for days, shouting over and over, “these men are servants of the Most High God.”
Suddenly, Paul turned and commanded, “In the name of Jesus, come out of her!” Immediately the evil spirit left her, and she became silent. Her masters watched in astonishment. Then their astonishment turned to anger as they realized what Paul had done. The slave girl had made them wealthy by telling people’s fortunes. Now the evil spirit had left her! She would not be able to tell fortunes! She would no longer earn money for them.
Her owners grabbed Paul and Silas. They dragged them to the marketplace and took them before the local judge. They accused Paul and Silas, saying, “These men are Jews. They are stirring up trouble and encouraging people to go against Roman practices.” An unfriendly crowd quickly gathered. Soon the judge ordered that Paul and Silas were to be beaten and thrown into jail.
The jailer took them into his deepest dungeon. He put their feet in stocks and locked the door, leaving them in darkness. It was cold and damp in the cell. Their backs were bleeding and sore. The stocks dug into their ankles. They could not move.
As they sat in the dark cell, Paul and Silas began to pray and sing hymns to God. The more they sang, the better they felt. They forgot about their sore backs and ankles. They worshipped God for keeping them alive. They praised Him for being with them and looking after them, even in prison. The other prisoners listened in amazement. How could these men sing after being so badly beaten?
Around midnight an earthquake began to shake the prison. The prisoners’ chains fell off. The cell doors flew open. They could walk out of prison.
The jailer ran out of his house. He saw the open prison doors and was sure that all the prisoners had escaped. Immediately he took out his sword to kill himself. He knew the penalty for letting prisoners escape was a painful death. He would rather take his own life!
Paul called out to the jailer, “Stop! We are all here!”
The jailer called for lights. He hurried to their cell. “Yes!” he shouted. “They are all here.”
The jailer took Paul and Silas to his home. He had heard Paul and Silas singing and worshipping God in their cell. As he washed their cuts and bruises, he asked them to tell him more about the God they worshipped.
The two men told the wonderful story of Jesus. They told how God had sent His Son to die for their sins. The jailer and his family listened carefully. And they decided that they wanted to follow Jesus. They immediately joined with Paul and Silas in worshipping God and were baptized.
The next morning Paul and Silas were released. The judge had learned that they were Roman citizens. He knew that the law said Roman citizens could not be imprisoned without a trial. So he apologized to them. As Paul and Silas left the town, they worshipped God for giving them the opportunity to witness to the jailer and his family. They continued to praise God as they traveled to tell others about Jesus.
No matter where we are or what happens, we can always praise God too.