About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the prisoners were listening to them. Acts 16:25 (ESV)

Paul and Silas had been thrown into prison because they had an evil spirit leave a young servant girl. Her master depended on the income she brought to his coffers.

Other prisoners may have been trying to sleep. Paul and Silas were in stocks and, still, they decided to pray and sing hymns to God. His word tells us the other prisoners listened to them.

As I read this passage recently, I wondered what I would do if I were in their place. I texted a couple of friends and asked them the question.

One responded with, “I read in Jesus Calling that we are supposed to thank God for our problems because they are there to make us grow and for God’s purpose.”

The other friend pointed out that praise verses “are not especially for those who are experiencing good times but for those who are downcast and feeling the burden of life on their shoulders.”

Paul and Silas were unsure of what lay ahead for them. They probably felt discouraged; I know I would have. They may have wanted to feel God’s presence in a special way.

I believe God took control of the circumstance by causing:

· a great earthquake and opening the doors,

· the jailer and his household to seek salvation,

· the jailer’s household to be baptized.

All these events happened as a result of two men praying and singing hymns to God in a time when most would have been fretful and stressed. I see a great lesson here.

As God’s children, we need to praise Him for His presence with us as we go through difficult times. At certain times in my life, those difficult times have been what I call “layered”. I feel down and can trace that feeling to more than one circumstance affecting me. It is during these time that I feel God’s hand guiding me through the downcast time as He works out those circumstances. God does take His children by the hand and lead them through all the issues that affect their lives.