TEXT: Acts 16:25-34
25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.
27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,
30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
— PRAYER —
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 229 messages in this series.
This is message #230 titled, Praying Through Your Midnight Hour, Part 4.
We return to Paul and Silas who are in prison. In their midnight hour, they chose to pray and praise God despite their circumstances. They could do this because they knew that God was not in a midnight hour. His hands were not tied, nor His feet shackled. We learned also that God sometimes allows us to go through midnight hours in order to encourage others who are in the same situation. Paul and Silas prayed and praised God as their fellow prisoners listened. We must remember that our behavior, particularly during hard times, is a testimony to the unsaved world. Finally, we learned that we ought to pray and praise God in our midnight hour because God may be planning to use our situation to display His power and bring glory to His name. That is what happened when “suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.” God responded to His servants’ prayers and wrought this tremendous deliverance on their behalf.
Notice, however, that all of the prisoners were loosed by this earthquake. Surely, some of them deserved to be in jail. What was God up to? Here, we learn another principle from this story: We ought to pray through our midnight hour because God may be preparing us for future ministry.
When the keeper of the prison awoke and realized that the prison was destroyed, he assumed that all of the prisoners had escaped. Under Roman custom, jailers or soldiers tasked with guarding a prisoner were killed if their prisoners escaped. So, the jailkeeper drew his sword to kill himself. “But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.” Apparently, Paul and Silas had stopped the other prisoners from escaping.
The jailkeeper must have wondered, “What kind of prisoners are these? They are given an opportunity to escape through an act of God, but they don’t leave. On top of that, they are concerned about me, the one who not only put them in prison but put them in the inner prison and put their feet fast in the stocks?”
William J. Larkin said, “The urgency, shakenness and respect, if not worship, shown in the jailer’s demeanor are matched by his question: Sirs, what must I do to be saved? The earthquake and the prisoners’ willingness to remain have vindicated the message and the messengers. Temporal salvation is not the issue, since the prisoners are reported present; clearly, then, this seismic event has shaken loose from the jailer’s heart the key religious question of the ages.”
The jailkeeper likely had heard Paul and Silas praying and praising God. Their actions once they were freed from the prison aligned with their verbal testimony. I’m afraid that most of us would have run as soon as we saw a way to escape. But Paul and Silas saw an opportunity to show how the life of Christ was borne out in their lives. They were not just glad to get out of their midnight hour, but they seized upon a God-ordained opportunity for ministry.
The jailer came to them trembling. He “fell down before Paul and Silas” and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” The jailer took Paul and Silas to his own home where “they spake unto him and to all that were in his house the word of the Lord.” The result was that the jailer and all who were in his house, family members and servants, “believed in God” and were baptized “straightway.” After that, they had a time of fellowship. The jailer washed the wounds of Paul and Silas, “set meat before them,” and “rejoiced with all his house.”
Souls saved! Believers baptized! God glorified! When their midnight hour began, Paul and Silas could not have known that this was the way it would turn out. But God had allowed them to be put in that position to prepare them for greater ministry. Perhaps, Paul had this situation in mind when he wrote to the Corinthians that God allows His children to suffer tribulation “that we may be able to comfort those which are in any trouble by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
That is why we ought never to throw our hands up in despair in our midnight hour. Rather, we ought to lift our hands in prayer and praise. We never know who is watching us. We never know what God has planned for us. We never know the souls that can be saved or the people who could be encouraged if we would but pray and praise God in our midnight hour.
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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.