“Along about midnight, Paul and Silas were at prayer and singing a robust hymn to God. The other prisoners couldn’t believe their ears. Then, without warning, a huge earthquake! The jailhouse tottered, every door flew open, all the prisoners were loose.” Acts 16:25-26
Have you ever had someone suggest that you “praise God through your troubles?” I have, and I have to admit that it isn’t always the easiest advice to follow! Even though I know it will bring blessings to say, “Hallelujah, anyhow!” when I’m going through a storm, I’d often rather complain than offer up praise to the One who is seeing me through.
Paul and Silas are usually held up as the perfect examples of this. They were in jail for proclaiming Jesus to the people, and yet they were praising God while they were shackled! Miraculously, the Lord moved in an earthquake and set not only the two men, but everyone in the jail free. Through their testimony, the jailer and his entire family were saved.
How were these two able to lift their voices in praise in such circumstances? Because they’d been living a lifestyle of praise. There is no way they could worship in the dark, if they hadn’t been doing it in the light of day. They didn’t just confine their worship to weekly corporate meetings. Paul and Silas demonstrated that praising Him has to be an integral part of our lives if it is to flow naturally in our darkest hours.
I encourage you to begin to cultivate that lifestyle of praise. Don’t just limit it to 30 minutes on Sunday morning. Begin to praise God as you go throughout your day, whether in song or prayer. You might be amazed at the change in your outlook, and your circumstances, as you do. And the witness to those around you will be priceless, as people begin to wonder about the peace and strength you have even when things are rough.
Is it a sacrifice to praise sometimes? Of course. But by practicing those praise muscles when things are going well, we’ll have the strength to use them when they aren’t.