Monday, May 10, 2010

Acts 16:25-40

25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly 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. 27The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul shouted, "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!"
29The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
31They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household." 32Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.
35When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: "Release those men." 36The jailer told Paul, "The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace."
37But Paul said to the officers: "They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out."
38The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. 39They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. 40After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia's house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. Then they left.

Questions to consider:

• How do Paul and Silas respond to the discouraging circumstances of of verses 22-24?
• When you think that God clearly leads you into a situation and then everything goes wrong,
how do you feel?
• How important, do you think, is their conduct in the jailer’s conversation?
• What do these circumstances and results teach you about the ways of God?
• Has God ever worked in your life similarly to his work in Paul and Silas’s experience? What
• Can you find encouragement in today’s passage concerning God’s purposes for those
friends and family who aren’t followers (yet) of Jesus?

Possibilities for prayer:

It strikes me that Paul and Silas were praying and singing when God provided such a mighty demonstration of power. Sometimes I think we can forget how powerful the simple things are that we do all the time...praying and worshiping. Today, let’s thank God for the power that exists in prayer and worship, and ask for manifestations of that power in our lives as well.