Our Praise Opens Locked Doors for Others


In my last post, Receive Freedom from Despair (click here), I shared how unmet expectations of having a fair life, or for families of inmates—that they expected to receive a fair trial, has the potential to lead us into despair. We looked at the response of Paul and Silas when they were wrongfully convicted and thrown into prison in Acts 16.

Paul and Silas did not complain and murmur to one another or even to other prisoners that they had an unfair trial. After being beaten, they were placed in the inner prison and their feet were fastened into stocks. They even lost the ability to move, stretch, or treat each other’s wounds within the prison cell. But in their pain and suffering, they had a response that is counter to the natural human response—they began to pray and sing hymns during the midnight hour.

“But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them” (Acts 16:26 NKJV).

Paul and Silas prayed and sang out loud and as a result the other prisoners listened to them. When placed in confined spaces, every little sniffle, throat clearing, and utterances can be heard.

Yet, here Paul and Silas in a foreign prison prayed and sang out loud to God thus changing the spiritual atmosphere in their current environment. We can only imagine that inside the inner prison that it is dark and dank. Very uncomfortable. An unpleasant environment.

Most likely the other inmates were uncomfortable and in despair. Now here are two more prisoners cramping up the space. I imagine that these inmates were fussing, grumbling, complaining, and taunting the two new unwelcomed additions to their confined area.

Now the prisoners had no choice but to listen to the prayers and psalms of Paul and Silas. These hymns of worship to God must have calmed their anxious hearts. We see examples throughout Scripture how worship calms a troubled heart. Let’s look at how the Lord used David’s musical skills to calm King Saul…


“And whenever a tormenting spirit from God troubled Saul, David would play the harp. Then Saul would feel better, and the tormenting spirit would go away” (1 Samuel 16 23 NKJV).

Before David became king, he served in the reigning king’s court. King Saul had already been rejected by God to remain king of Israel due to his disobedience. The Lord’s Spirit left Saul and was replaced by a tormenting spirit. However, whenever David played the harp, the tormenting spirit left.

When we pray and worship by singing hymns and spiritual songs, it changes the atmosphere around us—calming down the tormenting spirits and allows God’s peace to fill the place. Prayer and worship invite God to operate in our circumstances, just like we see in Acts 16 how God responded to Paul and Silas’ prayer and worship.

“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” (Acts 16:27 NKJV).

When Paul and Silas sang and prayed, not only were the doors opened and chains loosed for them, but also for all the prisoners with them.

When we pray and praise God in our dark situations, it not only changes the environment for us, but for those who are around us. We are blessed by God so that it opens doors and looses chains for others.

Imusic-278795_1920n prison, my son prays and sings songs to our Lord. By doing so, he has shared the goodness of God to other inmates in their present situation. This has opened the doors of hearts to receive Christ as Savior. On the outside, I pray with families who have loved ones in prison and share our testimony of how God truly takes a bad situation surrendered to Him and works it for His glory. This has opened the locks of hurt for Christ to heal the broken places. Our praise is changing the environment around us.

Praise not only changed the situation for Paul and Silas, but also for those around them. When we worship and pray out loud so others hear, they also reap the benefits of the changed atmosphere. Our praise to God opens locked doors and loosens chains for those who hear it.

© 2016 Shonda Savage

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