Shackled but Not Silent
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
In the summer of 1963, after an all-night bus ride, US civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer and six other black passengers stopped to eat at a diner in Winona, Mississippi. After law enforcement officers forced them to leave, they were arrested and jailed. But the humiliation wouldn’t end with unlawful arrest. All received severe beatings, but Fannie’s was the worst. After a brutal attack that left her near death she burst out in song: “Paul and Silas was bound in jail, let my people go.” And she didn’t sing alone. Other prisoners, restrained in body but not in soul, joined her in worship.
According to Acts 16, Paul and Silas found themselves in a difficult place when they were imprisoned for telling others about Jesus. But discomfort didn’t dampen their faith. “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God” (v. 25). Their bold worship created the opportunity to continue to talk about Jesus. “Then they spoke the word of the Lord to [the jailer] and to all the others in his house” (v. 32).
Most of us will not likely face the extreme circumstances encountered by Paul, Silas, or Fannie, but each of us will face uncomfortable situations. When that happens, our strength comes from our faithful God. May there be a song in our hearts that will honor Him and give us boldness to speak for Him—even in the midst of trouble.
Reflect & Pray
When was the last time you found yourself in a difficult situation? How did God help you live out your faith and witness?
Hard times call for prayer and praise to the One who controls all things.
Song in the Night, Acts 16:25 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study