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Thanksgiving: Paul and Silas

ďAnd at midnight Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.Ē1

The dictionary describes Praise as: expressing one's respect and gratitude toward (a deity), especially in song. And it also gives us a synonym: give thanks to.

I think we can conclude that praise and thankfulness go hand in hand! We find todayís thankful duo in Acts chapter 16. Paul and Silas had been going from place to place sharing the Gospel of Jesus to all who would listen, that is until they were accused of offending Roman customs and laws. Paul and Silas were severely beaten and thrown into prison where the jailer was ordered to place them in the inner cells and bind them with chains. That was quite an unjust punishment for sharing love and forgiveness. But such is the case in our time still. There are those who still cannot accept Godís love as a free gift to all mankind and ultimately reject it, hate it, and/or punish the messenger.

Though physical pain and humiliation threatened to dampen their spirits, Paul and Silasí faith remained stronger than ever. That night at midnight, they decided to express their gratitude in song. Their song of thanksgiving not only kept their cellmates awake, but it brought on an earthquake, that caused the cell doors to break open and the prisoners' shackles to come loose! That was some gratitude! I wonder, does our attitude of gratitude cause great things to happen? Our thankfulness has the power to shake off our bonds and set us free.

When the Jailer realized that the cell doors had been opened, he assumed that the prisoners had all escaped; and so, fearing for his life, he decided to end it instead of facing the punishment he was sure to receive. But before he could bring harm to himself, Paul called out to him, assuring the Jailer that they were all still there. At that moment, the Jailer knew that this miracle could only be from the Lord and immediately opened his heart to the One True God!

Thankfulness is not just an action expressed with our words, itís an attitude that springs up from our hearts pouring out and spilling on to others. We have the power to bring others to Christ through our actions and attitudes and sometime no words are necessary. In this story, God used a song to bring honor and glory to Himself. Allow God to use your thankful song today to do great things and bring others to Christ.

Suggested Prayer:

Dear Lord, I want my thankfulness to be as powerful as Paul and Silasí song. I donít want my gratitude to be just the same words over and over, but instead allow thanksgiving to flow from my heart in my actions and my attitudes so that others will see and acknowledge your goodness and open their hearts to you. In Jesusí loving name, Amen.

  1. Acts 16:25.

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Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.