In the midnight hour | Faith | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | November 5, 2017 5:00 am
Last Updated: November 1, 2017 at 11:05 am
There have been times in our lives when we awaken during the night and just cannot seem to go back to sleep. We toss and turn, wondering what in the world is going on. Perhaps, some of us may have gotten up and watched television. Some may have gone to the kitchen for a late snack or something to drink. Others may have resorted to Facebook.
During this time of restlessness, how many of you have turned to the Word? If a good lesson from the Word didn’t put you back to sleep, then what else did you try? How many of you have tried prayer? Maybe this is God’s way of telling you that when you wake up and can’t go back to sleep, just have a little talk with Him to ease your troubled mind.
The Book of Acts records one of the greatest prayer services ever held at midnight. Do you remember the story about Paul and Silas when they were imprisoned? Before they were cast into prison, they were beaten. So there would be no chance of their possible escape, they were put in the inner prison, and their feet were fastened.
What the magistrates who gave this order against Paul and Silas did not know and understand is, “There’s a God who knows it all.” Further, they did not know that a mighty move of God was about to take place where they thought they had these two men bound indefinitely. Consequently, they did not know that the Philippian jailer and his family would come to know Jesus Christ as their Savior because of the presence of Paul and Silas. Glory be to God!
Acts 16:25-26 (ESV) states, “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and 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 bonds were unfastened.” Even though Paul and Silas had been brutally beaten, and ultimately imprisoned because they were accused of advocating customs not accepted by the Romans, and they “hindered” the profit and power that had been gained by some because of the misuse of a demon-possessed slave girl, these two converts still praised God.
Take a look at what happened in verses 25-26: “Paul and Silas had to be in pain because of the way in which they were beaten. It was midnight, yet they were awake. The pain and the cramping in their legs were probably so immense to the point that they could not sleep. In spite of the pain and the ill treatment by the magistrates who ordered their imprisonment, they did not react bitterly.
“What Paul and Silas did was proactive. Instead of creating a chaotic uprising, they turned to God and gave Him praise by singing and praying. The bottom line, they held a powerful prayer service in the midnight hour! Paul and Silas knew that in order to get where God wanted them to be, they had to do some suffering, so they praised Him instead of complaining and creating havoc. The prisoners could have shouted back at Paul and Silas, demanding that they be quiet so they could sleep. Instead, they listened to them.
“Then look what happened after that…the prison was shaken by an act of God, and the prisoners’ doors were opened… As the story goes on, the jailer became alarmed and wanted to commit suicide because he thought all the prisoners had escaped. However, Paul let the jailer know that they were all accounted for and there was no need for him to bring harm to himself. Therefore, the jailer went to Paul wanting to know what he needed to do to be saved…”
My sisters and brothers in Christ, this mighty move of God took place at midnight. It wasn’t at a Sunday morning service or an early evening Bible study. It was in the midnight hour! All kinds of things can happen at midnight and afterwards. Shootings, robberies, rapes, home invasions, fatal car accidents, children running away from home, among many other tragic situations, can occur. However, what greater thing to happen at midnight than a prayer service!
So the next time that you are awakened late at night and just cannot go back to sleep, pray. The results could be phenomenal and a great testimony to others about what prayer can do in the midnight hour. Have a wonderfully blessed week, and never leave home without Him!
(Anna Bright is a minister and educator in Walterboro. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)