TEXT: Acts 16:16-26
16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.
19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,
20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,
21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.
22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible.” The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 228 messages in this series.
This is message #229 titled, Praying Through Your Midnight Hour, Part 3.
As we return to this passage, we find Paul and Silas in the midst of their midnight hour. In our last message, we explored the fact that many of God’s servants experience the midnight hour. We specifically mentioned David, Elijah, and Jesus Himself. However, there were others. For example, Joseph who was thrown in prison for doing the right thing and refusing to get involved sexually with his boss’s wife. And then there is John the Baptist who was also thrown in prison for telling King Herod that it was unlawful for him to have his brother’s wife. It was during his midnight hour that John began to have questions about Jesus being the promised Messiah. He wanted to know if He was truly the light of the world because his own situation was turning out to be so dark.
So, it is no unusual thing for God’s people to experience the midnight hour. It is not odd to find Paul and Silas chained in the inner prison with their feet in the stocks simply because they had preached the Gospel and cast the devil out of a demon-possessed slave girl. While they were in their midnight hour, Paul and Silas decided to pray and praise God. Their action is significant for three reasons that apply to us in our midnight hour.
First, even though Paul and Silas were experiencing a midnight hour, God was not experiencing a midnight hour. These servants knew that their God was not in prison. Their God did not have His hands tied or His feet in the stocks. Their being restricted did not mean God was restricted. Too often, when we feel powerless, we act as though God is also powerless. In reality, it is more likely that God has allowed us to be stripped of the power that we think we have so that He can show us His true power. Jerry Salley and Steven Curtis Chapman wrote:
His strength is perfect when our strength is gone.
He’ll carry us when we can’t carry on.
Raised in His power, the weak become strong.
We can only know the power that he holds
When we truly see how deep our weakness goes
His strength will begin when ours comes to an end
He will hear our humble cry and prove Himself again
You can pray and praise God in your midnight hour because, no matter what situation you are in, God remains all powerful.
Second, you ought to pray and praise God in your midnight hour because God may have put you there to minister to others. The Bible tells us that as “Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God, the prisoners heard them.” It is not only God’s children who experience the midnight hour, but people who do not know God experience the midnight hour as well. It is significant that the prisoners heard Paul and Silas praying and praising God. What an encouragement it must have been to them. What an example these two imprisoned apostles set.
The world is looking at us when we go through our midnight hours. They want to see if the God we say we serve really makes a difference during our dark times. Chelsea Patterson said, “When we respond to suffering well, we practically demonstrate to the unbelieving world that God is more glorious and precious to us than any pain and difficulty we might endure. We have the opportunity to show where and in whom we find our true treasure. By placing our ultimate hope in Christ rather than in the temporary things of this world, God receives the glory.” God may have put you in the midnight hour so that you could be an encouragement to others in similar circumstances.
Joseph was called to minister to his fellow prisoners while he was wrongfully imprisoned. Instead of moping and complaining, he set a godly example so much so that the jailer entrusted him with the keeping of the prison. His integrity and good example won him the favor of the other prisoners and they felt comfortable turning to him for help with personal matters.
David also ministered to others in his midnight hour. The Bible says that, as the future king was hiding in caves while on the run from Saul, “every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them.” David provided leadership for people who did not know what to do with their lives. Out of their collective midnight experience came David’s 400 “mighty men” who served him throughout his reign.
Instead of focusing only on getting out of your predicament, consider how you can be a help, a blessing, an example, and an encouragement to others going through a midnight hour as well.
Third, realize that God may be using your midnight hour to demonstrate His power and display His glory. As Paul and Silas were praying and praising God, the Bible says that “suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.” God sometimes takes our midnight situations and uses them to show His glory. When His power is displayed, He is glorified not only by those who know Him already, but also by those who do not know Him. Paul and Silas’ fellow prisoners realized that the God these two men prayed to was real and omnipotent. God may be getting ready to use your midnight hour in a similar way. He may be planning to show those around you who He is and that He is working on your behalf.
Erwin Lutzer said, ‘Suffering is a divine gift in your life, coming from God’s hand for God’s purposes. It’s a gift you shouldn’t resent. It’s a gift you shouldn’t be angry. You must learn to see the larger picture of what God has in mind for His glory and for His honor. That’s the agenda. Sometimes it is in the setbacks of life that we see God’s glory most clearly. We can embrace our circumstances because, at the end, nothing else matters except His glory.’
Dear friend, don’t curse your midnight hour. You might not be able to move forward at the present moment, but rest assured, God is always on the move. Even in your midnight hour, He is working out His perfect plan and purpose for you.
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Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to GospelLightSociety.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.