Power in Praise
Praise can be defined as expressing one’s respect and gratitude toward a deity, especially in song. Praise is also the expression of respect and gratitude as an act of worship. We tend to praise God for past blessings; however, as people of faith, we must praise God regardless of what He has done or is yet to do. Praise is the receipt that pulls down God’s blessings. It is evidence of the blessing that is yet to manifest.
In Acts 16:16-40, the Bible tells the story of Paul and Silas’ release from prison after they were beaten, severely flogged, and thrown into prison for bringing deliverance to a demon-possessed girl. Paul, a former persecutor of Christians was a Greek-speaking Jew, Roman citizen; a member of the elite religious sect, the Pharisees. Silas was a leader of the church, who was chosen by Paul to accompany him on Paul’s second missionary.
Acts 16:23 – “After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.” The two men were not only thrown into the inner cell of the prison but endured physical pain for merely delivering a young girl. Severely flogged; one thing that can test your faith is bodily affliction; a sickness that touches your body in a way that makes you doubt God. The enemy knows this! In Job 2, after his attempts to draw Job away from God failed, Satan requested to afflict Job with a disease. “Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.” (Job 2:4-5)
In spite of the pain to their bodies, at the midnight hour, the bible recounts, Paul and Silas began to pray and praise. Flesh torn, blood flowing, in excruciating pain, arms and feet numb; stricken with hunger and thirst, yet they praised. Their praise permeated the whole prison, and the other prisoners were listening; yet the jailer slept, assured that Paul and Silas were helpless and hopeless. Your enemies may think you’ve fallen into a state of despair; that you have no hope, your circumstance may seem bleak, rest assured, your deliverance is near.
The praises of Paul and Silas ascended to the throne of God, not because their voices were melodious, but because the circumstances through which they praised, made it more meaningful. Paul and Silas offered a sacrifice of praise. Their praise that didn’t come from a place of comfort, but from a place of pain and anguish. As scripture states, in response to their prayers and praise, God caused a violent earthquake that shook the foundations of the prison. All the prison cells’ doors flew open and everyone’s chains came loose. Their extraordinary praise had provoked an extraordinary response. There is power in praise!
In the hour of dejection and rejection, Paul and Silas lifted their voices in prayer and praise; Heaven heard and answered. What will make men in that condition start praying and praising? -the Holy Spirit. The more we submit to the Holy Spirit, the more we understand that praise has nothing to do with our circumstances. The Apostles were continually jailed, flogged, chased out of cities; nevertheless, they remained resolute, diligently working for Christ and praising. The apostles rejoiced in their suffering (Acts 5:41) The Holy Spirit makes a difference. True, authentic worship and praise can only be inspired by the Holy Spirit.
The enemy can break your body but cannot break your spirit. Choose to rejoice in spite of; choose to praise in spite of. What is the worst that has happened to you? Let it not steal your praise. No circumstance, no matter how severe, should hinder us from praising God.
There is power in praise!