Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Psalm 67:5-7
The word praise in the above scripture is translated HUMNEO in Greek meaning to celebrate God in song, to sing a hymn. Paul and Silas in the above scripture were in Philippi doing the will of God, expanding the kingdom by preaching the gospel. On this particular day they were actually going to pray and then they were met by a young girl with the spirit of divination. They cast out the devil operating in the girl but this got her masters angry because the hope of their gains was gone. These men were busy using the girl to make gains for themselves. But Paul and Silas rescued the girl from hand of the enemy and these evil men.
One would have thought that would result in a major revival and people would turned to God. But the opposite was the case. Paul and silas were arrested, beaten and put in jail for delivering the girl from demonic power. Can you imagine being opposed, beaten and jailed for setting people free and doing the will of God? Where is God in this mess and what was He waiting for?. Not only was that day a bad day for the ministry of Paul and Silas, they also suffered a setback. You have probably been in situation where you did everything the bible says you should do and you lived right but instead of going forward you suffered disappointment and set back. But these guys did not start a pity party; instead they started a praise party. They were not discouraged rather they took courage. The bible says at midnight they prayed and praised God in spite of their situation.
They did not praise God for the bad day they had, they praised God for who is even in the midnight hour. Never praise God for things good or bad but praise Him for who is. Praising God in a storm is called the sacrifice of praise. When the storm is still raging, and you are still having a bad time and things have not yet come together as you desired, and yet you choose to focus on God and not let go of the revelation of who He is and what he has done and will do. This kind of praise gets heavens attention every time. The sacrifice of praise is irresistible to God. Jehoshaphat in 2 chronicles 20 applied it and it brought deliverance to him and Israel, Jesus used it on the way to mount of Olive before his crucifixion and it brought him resurrection from the dead. It is our time to use it and we will experience the greatness, honour and peace that God has promised us this year. Yes we are in the last month of this year but God is not done with us yet. So start to give a sacrifice of praise to God and see Him show up in the midst of your storm.
For Further Study
Psalm 67:5-6, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Personal declaration for the day
Today, I will offer to God a sacrifice of praise. I will praise God in spite of challenges. I will praise Him for who He is and not what I can get.
Questions for you to reflect on
How often do you praise God when things are yet to work?
What were the outcomes?
What are the reasons why you praise God?