Richard Roberts

Acts 16 tells a wonderful story of how the apostle Paul and Silas went to the city of Philippi. As they were going each day to prayer, there was a demon-possessed woman who had a spirit of divination — a fortune-teller, a sorcerer — who said, These men are the servants of the most high God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation (v.17).

One day, Paul became grieved in his spirit, and he turned to the woman, spoke to that spirit of divination, and commanded it to come out of her — and it did!

The Bible says that those who owned her became upset, and they beat Paul and Silas within an inch of their lives. Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (vv.23˗31).

Perhaps you feel like you’ve been beaten — maybe not on the outside, but on the inside. Things have happened and you don’t know how you’re going to survive. Yet God is saying to us that if we’ll praise Him, if we’ll lift up our hands and our hearts, if we’ll let the words that come out of our mouths praise Him, He will begin to shake the foundations of the “prisons” that have tried to enclose us. God will work a great, great victory, and we’ll come out unharmed!