28/08/2019: THE POWER OF PRAISE IN PRAYER
CALL TO WORSHIP[i]: Psalm 33:12-22
12 What joy for the nation whose God is the Lord,
whose people he has chosen as his inheritance.
13 The Lord looks down from heaven
and sees the whole human race.
14 From his throne he observes
all who live on the earth.
15 He made their hearts,
so he understands everything they do.
16 The best-equipped army cannot save a king,
nor is great strength enough to save a warrior.
17 Don’t count on your warhorse to give you victory—
for all its strength, it cannot save you.
18 But the Lord watches over those who fear him,
those who rely on his unfailing love.
19 He rescues them from death
and keeps them alive in times of famine.
20 We put our hope in the Lord.
He is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord,
for our hope is in you alone.
READING: ACTS 16:16-40
Paul and Silas in Prison
16 One day as we were going down to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl who had a spirit that enabled her to tell the future. She earned a lot of money for her masters by telling fortunes. 17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved.”
18 This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And instantly it left her.
19 Her masters’ hopes of wealth were now shattered, so they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities at the marketplace. 20 “The whole city is in an uproar because of these Jews!” they shouted to the city officials. 21 “They are teaching customs that are illegal for us Romans to practice.”
22 A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. 23 They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. 24 So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.
25 Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. 26 Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! 27 The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. 28 But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!”
29 The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” 32 And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. 33 Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. 34 He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.
35 The next morning the city officials sent the police to tell the jailer, “Let those men go!” 36 So the jailer told Paul, “The city officials have said you and Silas are free to leave. Go in peace.”
37 But Paul replied, “They have publicly beaten us without a trial and put us in prison—and we are Roman citizens. So now they want us to leave secretly? Certainly not! Let them come themselves to release us!”
38 When the police reported this, the city officials were alarmed to learn that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. 39 So they came to the jail and apologized to them. Then they brought them out and begged them to leave the city. 40 When Paul and Silas left the prison, they returned to the home of Lydia. There they met with the believers and encouraged them once more. Then they left town.
Getting into the story: –
- Why do you think Paul reacted in the way that he did to the slave girl in the story (vs.16-18)? Was she healed? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Why were Paul and Silas arrested, beaten and imprisoned? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- What is the “real story” that Luke presents to us? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Have you sometimes wished that God would “rescue you”? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- List some of the dramatic events that occur in vs.25-30; and take a moment to imagine yourself as a character in the story: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- The key person to focus on in this story is ______________________________________
- Have you ever personally experienced an earthquake? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- If this story is about a divine rescue mission… who exactly is being rescued? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- What do you think of the statement – according to Luke “conversion is not a solitary experience but one shared and celebrated”? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK
- “Prayer, praise, and faith in Jesus still shakes the foundations of all that is false, sick, and built on sin. And it will continue to do so until all the captives are released”[ii].
- Spiritually speaking: Praise – like Love – is not an emotion but an act of faith and the will! In both instances, emotions are a by-product of the faithful commitment to Love and Praise God for who he is!
PRACTICAL EXERCISE FOR THE WEEK: Calm down, breathe, thumb …praise…pray!
- Psalm of Praise and Rejoicing: 150[iii]
1 Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heaven!
2 Praise him for his mighty works;
praise his unequalled greatness!
3 Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn;
praise him with the lyre and harp!
4 Praise him with the tambourine and dancing;
praise him with strings and flutes!
5 Praise him with a clash of cymbals;
praise him with loud clanging cymbals.
6 Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
- Psalm of Praise and Confession: 151
[i] Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
[ii] Eric Barreto in http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=585
[iii] Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.