From Prison to Praise – Theology Essay
It’s not popular to be a true follower of Jesus Christ. Throughout the centuries of church history, believers have been persecuted and imprisoned for their faith. Even today multitudes of Christians throughout the world are imprisoned for sharing their faith in Christ.
Even in Canada preachers are being thrown in jail for preaching the Word of God and taking a stand for righteousness and morality.
Perhaps you are not in a physical prison with iron bars and razor wire, but you know you are bound, chained, and imprisoned by a much crueler captor. Multitudes are locked up in a prison of fear, depression, despair, destructive habits, deception, and sin and death. “For the devil prowls about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” We are admonished to stand firm in the faith. No one is exempt from the enemy’s attack. (I Peter 5:8-9) But Jesus came to set captives free and bless them abundantly. (Isaiah 61:1; John 10:10)
When the devil or circumstances and trials of life seek to imprison us, there is a way of escape. (I Corinthians 10:13) Paul and Silas are examples of how God will bring release from prison when we apply the principles of His Word. (Acts 16) Paul discovered that religion could not bring this release but a vital personal relationship with the living Christ, the Lord of Lords did indeed. (John 8:36)
Paul and Silas were thrown in prison but God supernaturally set them free. Take note and put into practice the principles that brought them release from prison.
First – PRAYER to Almighty God brings release. Even though Paul and Silas were severely beaten and thrown in prison, notice what they did. “Around midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the other prisoners were listening to them” (Acts 16:25). In your midnight hour, pray to the God who hears and answers prayer. “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you” (I Peter 5:7). I believe Paul and Silas were also praying for their enemies. Jesus taught, “Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” (Matthew 5:44) When Job prayed for his accusers, God turned around his captivity. (Job 42:10) There is power in prayer. (James 5:13-16)
Second – PRAISE to God brings God’s presence and power into your life. In the early 1970’s a military chaplain, Merlin Carothers, who became a pastor, wrote Prison to Praise. His premise was that praise and thanksgiving to God brings release from any prison of circumstances. Paul admonishes us to not only keep on praying, but to “Give thanks in all things for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thessalonians 5:18). Paul and Silas were singing to the Lord at midnight. Anyone can sing and give thanks to God when things are going good. But Paul and Silas sang and praised God in their darkest hour. The Word of God calls this the sacrifice of praise. (Psalm 116:17) In your darkest night give thanksgiving and praise to God and find release. Notice that the other prisoners were listening to them. How you face life’s trials will be a great testimony to others.
Third – The POWER and glory of God has brought deliverance to multitudes. In answer to their prayer and praise God sent a mighty earthquake. Paul and Silas’ chains fell off and the prison doors swung open. God delights in displaying His glory and power. Whenever God shows up there will be a mighty earthquake of His glory and power. The power of the gospel changes lives. The power of the Holy will shake your whole house and surroundings. The Lord can do in 10 minutes what we could not do in 10 years or a life time. If only we will trust and stand up for Him.
Fourth – PARDON through God’s grace and mercy brought salvation to the jailor and his whole household! (Acts 16:29-33) The jailor fearing for his life, was about to commit suicide. Paul assured him that none of the prisoners had escaped. The jailor asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” The jailor was imprisoned by sin, hopelessness, and condemnation. They replied, “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved with your entire household” (Acts 16:31). Salvation through faith in Christ’s work on the cross will bring release and salvation. Pardon from sin through the blood of Jesus has brought redemption and freedom to countless multitudes. Believe and receive Him today.
Fifth – Paul gave a PROMISE to the jailor that if he only believed; his whole household would be saved. If we would claim the many promises of God by faith, we would see miraculous release. (Hebrews 4) “For all the promises God in Him (Christ) are yea and amen” (II Corinthians 1:20).
Sixth – PLUKINESS will bring release from fear and intimidation. When the city officials found out Paul was a Roman citizen, they pleaded with him to leave. Paul told them to come and release him themselves. Paul wasn’t being cocky but bold. We too often allow the enemy to intimidate us. Paul had pluck. What is pluck? “To take hold of something, having or showing determined courage in the face of difficulties.” Don’t be imprisoned by fear or intimidation. Have pluck. Know who you are in Christ.
Apply the principles of God’s Word and be released from your prison. “He that the Son sets free, is free indeed” (John 8:36).