Praying Through Your Midnight Hour, Part 1 (Praying Through the Bible #227)
TEXT: Acts 16:16-25
16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.
19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,
20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,
21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.
22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
— PRAYER —
Warren Wiersbe said, “Instead of complaining or calling on God to judge their enemies, the two men prayed and praised God. When you are in pain, the midnight hour is not the easiest time for a sacred concert, but God gives “songs in the night”. “Any fool can sing in the day,” said Charles Haddon Spurgeon. “It is easy to sing when we can read the notes by daylight; but the skillful singer is he who can sing when there is not a ray of light to read by … Songs in the night come only from God; they are not in the power of men.” Prayer and praise are powerful weapons. God responded by shaking the foundations of the prison, opening all the doors, and loosening the prisoners’ bonds.”
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible.” The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 226 messages in this series.
This is message #227 titled, Why You Should Pray and Praise God in Your Midnight Hour, Part 1.
As you will recall, Paul and Silas were on their way to pray in the city of Philippi when they were repeatedly followed by a young female slave who had a spirit of divination. The demonic spirit in this woman constantly and loudly declared that Paul and Silas were the servants of God who showed people the way of salvation. One day, Paul, who was grieved in his spirit by this action, commanded the evil spirit to come out of the woman, and it did. The woman’s owners who had been using her to make money by fortune-telling were upset. Paul had hit their pocketbook, and they did not like it.
In retaliation, they kidnapped Paul and Silas and dragged them before the magistrates or city rulers. They accused the evangelists of troubling the city and teaching customs which were not lawful for Romans to observe. The woman’s owners also stirred up the townspeople, and as a result, the city rulers had Paul and Silas beaten with “many stripes” after which they were thrown into prison. The jailer was given the command to keep them securely, so he put them in “the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.” Today, we would say they were put in a maximum security facility. Or in the “hole”
Paul and Silas were in yet another impossible situation at no fault of their own. Paul and Silas being beaten and imprisoned was not due to any sin or crime on their part. In fact, they had consistently been doing the right things — praying, preaching the Gospel, and moving forward in ministry under God’s guidance. Yet they found themselves in this predicament.
What is their response? In prison, at midnight, their response is to pray and sing praises unto God. They did not change their behavior because of their predicament. They pressed on in prayer and praise at the midnight hour.
The midnight hour is the darkest part of the night. While it was literally midnight for these men of God, midnight for us can represent dark times in our lives. Those times when we feel like we have done everything right, yet everything turns out wrong. Those times when we have prayed and planned, yet we find ourselves facing overwhelming problems. Those times when it seems like the pressure of the world is piling on us and we are experiencing a dark night, a midnight, of the soul.
David experienced this midnight hour. He had killed Goliath, was anointed to be the next king of Israel, was the best friend of Saul’s son, and was married to Saul’s daughter. Yet, he found himself hiding in caves and on the run from Saul and his army.
Elijah experience the midnight hour. This prophet of God stood up all alone on Mt. Carmel against the king, the queen, and 400 of Baal’s prophets. All alone, he called down fire from Heaven through prayer, proving to the people that “the Lord, he is God.” Yet, he found himself afraid, on the run from Jezebel who vowed to kill him by sundown the next day, and living out in the wilderness being fed by ravens.
Jesus experienced the midnight hour. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and preached that the kingdom of God had come. Yet, He found himself hated by the people who should have been celebrating Him. He found Himself under constant death threat, being falsely accused, and eventually betrayed, arrested, beaten, and crucified.
The midnight hour comes to all of God’s children. The question is: What will you do in yours? Will you throw up your hands, become depressed and discouraged, and curse the darkness? Or, will you, like Paul and Silas, light a candle and press on in prayer and in praise? Will you pause in the midst of your darkness and let your requests be made known to God? Will you stop and praise God that He is in the darkness with you?
President Franklin D. Roosevelt set a great example for us during one of the darkest days in history — D-Day, June 6, 1944. As thousands of Allied troops swarmed the beaches of France under open sky, where they faced hundreds of thousands of bullets and the chance of survival was 1 in 4, President Roosevelt went before the nation, not to make a speech, but to offer a prayer to God. It has been called his “Prayer During Dark Times.” While many citizens were afraid and worried about their sons, brothers, and husbands entering combat and what would happen if the offensive failed, the president put the focus of the nation where it needed to be — on God, who was with them even at such a dark time.
God was with David in the caves as he was on the run, and out of his midnight hour, came a king after God’s own heart. God was with Elijah in the wilderness, and out of his midnight hour, he was reminded that God was stronger than Jezebel and that he was not alone because there were 7,000 others in Israel who had not bowed the knee to Baal. God was with Jesus in Gethsemane, and out of His midnight hour, He received the strength and the assurance to go forward with the plan of redemption that had been set up before the foundation of the world.
Great things come out of the midnight hour. Wherever you are in life, God is with you. He has a plan and a purpose for the position that you are in. And, for that reason, you should pray to Him and praise Him in your midnight hour.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.