Shackled and Chained? Worship! – Jessica Hurtado

Shackled and Chained? Worship!

“Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundation. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!” (Acts 16:25-26 NLT)

Have you ever felt shackled, chained, or imprisoned by your circumstances? You are in a dead-end job, you are enslaved to debt, you are a prisoner of your past, you can’t seem to shake the trauma off. Or perhaps you can’t seem to break that addiction, you’ve tried everything, but you always seem to go back to it. You can’t stop gossiping, you lose your temper no matter how hard you try not to. Bondage can look different for all of us. Though some forms of bondage may be more devastating than others, bondage is oppressive regardless of how it manifests in our lives.

In our focus scripture, Paul and Silas have been imprisoned by the Philippians. As they lay in a dungeon shackled, the natural inclination would be to complain and resent their circumstance, but instead they choose to praise and worship the Father. Notice the scripture indicates it’s around midnight. Midnight indicates a transitioning period. At midnight, you are going from one day to the next, leaving this day behind to go into the new one. “Suddenly…” your circumstances change, suddenly you have a breakthrough, suddenly you get the promotion, suddenly you are out of debt, suddenly you break that addiction, suddenly you transition from bondage to freedom.

We serve a God of suddenly. One touch of God’s favor in our lives can unexpectedly open our prison doors and cause the chains that have held us captive to fall off! Let’s note that Paul and Silas were praying and worshipping God before the prison was shaken and the chains fell off. Will you choose to praise and worship Him before your breakthrough? Will you exalt his name while you are still in the dungeon? “…and the other prisoners were listening.”

What are you ministering to others through your character while you are still in chains? If you are a Christian, know that others are watching and listening to see how you behave in times of trial. Are you truly set apart from the world or are you like everyone else under duress and embrace your chains and resent them at the same time?

“The Lord frees the prisoners.” (Psalm 146:7b)

Recommended Reading: Acts 16:16-40
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for setting me free from every chain that heavily sets itself upon me. I choose to praise and worship you as I wait for my suddenly knowing that the Lord sets the prisoners free. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen!