“Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!” Acts 16:25-26
We hear it all the time – we need to praise God even when things aren’t going right, and He will move on our behalf. I know it takes faith to give thanks when it seems like all is lost, and that God is moved by our faith and trust in Him.
But consider Paul and Silas.
They were in jail, accused of preaching the Gospel. (Guilty as charged.) They were worshiping God in the middle of the night, when an earthquake came, broke off their chains (and everyone else’s) and opened the doors.
But did they know that was going to happen when they started singing? I doubt it. After all, there wasn’t any recorded precedent we have access to that suggests that anything would have come of their midnight concert other than tired vocal chords and irritated cellmates.
Paul and Silas didn’t use their praise as some sort of magical “get out of jail free card” or a way to prompt God into rescuing them. No, they offered their worship without thought of what they would receive in return, simply because they thought Him worthy.
Even if they remained in chains.
Even if they remained incarcerated.
Even if they never walked free again.
Let’s offer a sacrificial praise when things look bleak, but let’s think about our motives. Whether our situations get fixed or not, we still serve a God who deserves our honor. We still serve a God who is worthy of worship. We still owe it to Him to lift His name high.