The power is in your praise and prayer
Key Verse: “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened.” (Acts 16:25-26 ESV)
When the Covid crisis began last Spring, my husband and I were expecting our first child. Dreams for that glorious day when we would meet our little girl were dashed when we learned of hospital restrictions, airline cancellations, and lockdown procedures. My husband and I were getting a taste of parenthood during a pandemic.
Just over 24 hours after delivering our little one, we were packing up and heading home where there were no visitors waiting, no extra hands to help out, and no hot meals being delivered. Isolated, sleep deprived, and puzzled by all the unknowns with a newborn, my spirit struggled to call this joy. Streams of postpartum tears were the only expression I had left in me.
About halfway through the book of Acts, we find the apostle Paul in Philippi sharing the good news of Jesus. Paul encountered a slave girl with an evil spirit and he cast the spirit out. This cost the owners of the slave girl some fortune-telling money and they had Paul thrown in jail.
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened.” (Acts 16:25-26 ESV)
When all is stripped away, we still have everything we need to praise and pray.
Paul lost his freedom but he didn’t let a dark place pull him down. When pressed, Paul responded to his trial with praise and prayer; two things that could never be taken away.
In his difficulty Paul decided to sing. He didn’t dwell on his dire situation, the darkness, or the detour from his mission, but instead placed his thoughts in a position of praise and prayer.
A change of heart
This summer in the middle of isolation, my pastor stood on the stage of our empty sanctuary and begged the Church not to lose hope. He said, “fatigue is the great enemy of faith.” He urged us to grab a notebook and use entire sheets of paper to write out encouraging reminders to hold fast to our faith. He told us to tape them to our refrigerator where we would see them often. Two of those reminders included “sing a little louder” and “fill me Holy Spirit.”
For seven months my husband and I kept our reminders up. Daily we drew strength from singing praises and praying for the Holy Spirit to fill us up. We praised God for delivering a miracle and we prayed for the eyes to see it. We praised God for providing for our family and prayed for opportunities to share it. We praised God for our spiritual family and prayed for those living without it. Those praises and prayers purified our own hearts.
Praise and prayer are two of the most powerful privileges we possess that no circumstance can take away.
My heart, and my words, changed when I chose to live life from a place of praise despite the question marks looming over my circumstance. My prayers went from “save me, God” to “I trust you, Jesus.”
There is rest in my soul knowing the Lord will not let even the changing of a single dirty diaper go to waste. He is chiseling my character out of the trials of motherhood.
Friend, if you have stumbled into a dark place or are struggling through a difficult season, my hope is that your spirit will be lifted when you think about who Jesus is and how much He has saved you and I from. May you find the strength to lead your days and all the moments in between with praise. I pray you will find the courage to sing a little louder to our Creator, our Savior, our Truth and Light. God sees you. He knows your situation. And He longs to be gracious to you. May you lean in to His love with your prayers and rest in assurance that He’s got you in the palm of His hands. And may your heart stay ready for the “immediately” or “suddenly” that typically follows close behind.
In Your Life: Where will you start with your praise? Your health? Your home? Our Faithful Father? Our Savior, Jesus?
What are you holding control of that needs to be surrendered in prayer? The choices your children make? The way your spouse expresses love? How a friend, family member, or neighbor responds or doesn’t respond to your request?
We Recommend: Not sure your prayers are making it to heaven? Here’s an article to remind you of the power behind a common man’s prayer:. https://trishakeehn.com/the-miracle-in-a-common-mans-prayer/
Let’s Connect: For more encouraging messages by Trisha Keehn, visit www.trishakeehn.com
Trisha Keehn is a creative writer fueled by a lifetime of faith. She is part of the Life.Church and YouVersion Bible App creative writing team, a communications specialist in mental health, and uses her broadcast news background to help companies choose their words wisely. Trisha is a wife, mother, coffee connoisseur, lover of libraries, and a savvy traveler. Find more of her words at www.trishakeehn.com.
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