This Bible story begins with the unwarranted arrest of Paul and Silas. They had cast a spirit of divination out of a slave girl and realizing he had just lost his 'golden goose', the girls owner had them arrested, afterwhich the local Philippian authorities beat them and then threw them into a jail cell. Besides the trauma of the severe beating, they were also locked in stocks which held their arms and legs in an immobile position...can you say cramps and loss of circulation? The atmosphere there was depressing, most likely quite smelly and who knows what crawling all over them. Prisons of that day, were more like a dungeon; a dark, damp, stench-ridden place, with no facility for waste or comforts of any kind.
And then at midnight, in the midst of hearing their fellow prisoners groan and curse their fate, Paul and Silas started praying and singing praises to God. And not just quietly and under their breath, but loud enough that even the jailer heard them. Then suddenly, an earthquake shook the prison...the doors to all the cells flung open, and amazingly, the bonds that held Paul, Silas, and every other prisoner fell off! Paul and Silas knew how to lift their hearts above their troubles and enter into God’s presence and power. Through praise and worship their hearts were raised into the joyous presence and peace of God. Their praise and worship allowed them to not be a victim of their circumstances, but instead to trust in God. Psalms 22:3 says that God inhabits in the praises of His people. In other words, God 'dwells' in the atmosphere of His praise. This means that praise is not just a reaction from coming into His presence - Praise is a vehicle of faith which brings us into the presence and power of God! Praise and worship is the gate which allows us to enter the sacredness of His glory. Psalms 100:4 says, 'Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name'
In my humble opinion, if you're praising God...then there will be no time to listen to the temptations of the evil one. If you're praising God...then you can't wallow in the stench of your own pity. If you're praising God...you will come to see how blessed you really are. If you're praising God...you will find joy in most anything. If you're praising God...you will find a peace that can not be explained.
Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer!
For our sins He suffered, and bled, and died.
He our Rock, our hope of eternal salvation,
Hail Him! hail Him! Jesus the Crucified.
Sound His praises! Jesus who bore our sorrows,
Love unbounded, wonderful, deep and strong..