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

In the prison house of their pain and suffering Paul and Silas gained the victory through praise and worship:

Terrible is the struggle that takes place between the forces of good and of evil in important centers where the messengers of truth are called upon to labor. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood,” declares Paul, “but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world.” Ephesians 6:12. Till the close of time there will be a conflict between the church of God and those who are under the control of evil angels. {AA 219.1}

In this conflict with the “rulers of the darkness of this world,” our weapons are not guns and knives:  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Co 10:4–5). 

The battlefield of the Great Controversy is the mind.  It is thoughts and feelings that the enemy of souls is seeking to capture and hold hostage.  He wants to turn out minds to worry, doubt, and fear.  Satan would have us to concern ourselves with trivial matters, important matters, or whatever matter would keep our focus off of Jesus.  The enemy knows that if he can keep us from looking to Jesus, from trusting in the Savior’s promises, and depending on the Savior’s guidance, than he has us.  The devil’s chief agenda is to distract and lead astray. And the distractions he sends us don’t have to be wicked things.  They just need to keep us from Jesus.  Even the best of things can do that.

Application: Today my distraction is feeling like I must get to work.  It is feeling that I don’t have time to spend with Jesus.  Last night it was thinking that I deserved a break and reward for a hard weeks work.  Last week it was worry and concern over the Foster Care Presenter’s training.  Any number of things can keep me distracted.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus I thank You for ministering to my heart this afternoon.  Thank You for bringing me here to this place of fellowship and worship.  Jesus thank you for the gentle breeze and the inspiring message of Paul and Silas’ faith in the prison cell.  I think of the words of Sara Groves which are such a blessing:

I see Paul and Silas in the prison yard 
I hear the songs of freedom rising to the stars
And when the Saints go marching in
I want to be one of them.

Jesus this is my prayer.  I want to be a person of praise in the midst of my pain.  I want to worship You through the good and the bad.  I want to bless Your name when others curse me to my face.  Lord I want to be worthy of suffering for Your name.  And even as I pray this… I’m a bit bewildered.  Because I know who I am.  I know how selfish I am Lord Jesus.  I know my pride.  And if I am to bring glory to You.  Then I must die.  I must be buried. It must be You living and shining and moving and breathing in me.  Lord Jesus take my life.  Take it all. Drown me in Your Holiness.  Surround me in Your love.  Overwhelm me in Your glory.  Engulf me in Your mercy.  Have and hold and bless and break me.  Do all You must do to make my life Your temple.  I surrender to You.  Amen.