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January 4, 2021: Prisoners of Praise

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing songs to God as the other prisoners listened” (Acts 16:25, NCV).

Remember this frequent directive from your teenage years? “Make sure you’re home before midnight!” Midnight—that darkest part of the night when, in the absence of light, vulnerabilities to one’s very existence emerge.

Paul and Silas understood these vulnerabilities. Just “about midnight,” Roman soldiers unjustly hurled them into prison. This moment was made more daunting because they were chained in the dark innermost part
of the prison. We know what that feels like, right? When we experience those dark “midnight seasons” in our lives from which we would like to escape but can’t. It is here that I have discovered a powerful principle from Paul and Silas through which my midnight moments have been infused with clarity, light and deliverance.

I imagine Paul saying to Silas, straining his eyes to discern his face through the desperate midnight darkness: “Silas, we’re in a tough situation. There is no way of escape, so let’s just start singing praises.”

The Scriptures confirm that, because they chose to be prisoners of praise, they were delivered from the prison of their circumstances. And not
only were they delivered, but so were the other prisoners. Additionally significant is that these heroes of faith were content to stay in prison— living “above their circumstances”—where they experienced the presence of Christ—the One who inhabits praise.

Dear Lord, thank You for the wonder-working power of praise that transforms our midnight moments into powerful testimonies of Your presence and deliverance. Amen.

Cheryl H. Kisunzu is the provost of Washington Adventist University in Maryland.


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