Paul and Silas
In the 16th chapter of Acts is the story about Paul and Silas in Philippi. We read about their arrest, how they were beaten and thrown into prison and the jailer being commanded to guard them carefully. "Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks." The 25th verse is the one to take note of. "About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns TO God." They didn't sing praises to one another, they sang praises to God.
And notice something else. The Bible says, "the other prisoners were listening to them." They weren't quiet about this.
I think that there is a significance here in that this 'singing hymns' is tied on to the prayer. It says, "they were praying and...." "And" links 'singing hymns' onto the praying. I doubt they were petitioning God for anything in their prayer. They were worshipping God. They were probably thanking God for the privilege of suffering for His name.
I believe that what Paul wrote to
the church at Philippi bears this theory out for he says in Philippians
1:29, "For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to
believe on him, but also to suffer for Him, since you are going through
the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear I still have."
I believe we can learn something here from Paul and Silas if we'd listen. After all, they were in trouble, right? Their backs were bleeding and they were hurting physically. They were in jail, their feet were in stocks and it was midnight. Paul and Silas were in jail, but they didn't let the jail get into them. The difference in attitude makes a lot of difference. How we look at the situation makes all the difference in the world in how we come out, or whether we get out at all or not.
In the 24th chapter of Luke you'll notice something about these early disciples. When Jesus took them out as far as Bethany He blessed them and was taken up to heaven. The disciples worshipped Him and returned to Jerusalem. This was a characteristic of theirs.
Again in the 2nd chapter of Acts verses 46 & 47 says, "Everyday they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."
Again in the 5th chapter of Acts verse 42 says "Day after day...." With them this wasn't something that happened once in a great while. They were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. This prayer of worship should be a continual thing with us.
Back to the 16th chapter of Acts.....notice
what happened while Paul and Silas were praising God. Verse 26 says,
there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison
were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's
chains came loose." The end result of this worship, and maybe
the most significant thing that happened, was not the earthquake, and the
prisoners chains coming loose, but the jailer and his family were saved.
That's the power of the prayer of worship.