The midnight hour. The worry hour. That stressful time of night when all the cares of the world come crashing in on you, depriving you of your sleep. The baby’s cough is always worse at midnight. The headache always roars at midnight. Fevers soar at midnight.
“And at midnight, Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God.” Acts 16:25.
They had been horsewhipped, bound in chains and stocks, hand and foot, and thrown into the deepest, darkest dungeon in the town of Phillippi. With bleeding backs, clothes half-torn off their bodies, surrounded by darkness till they couldn’t even see each other, they were at the end of their ropes.
But at midnight, Paul and Silas sang praises unto God. The Bible says that the prisoners heard them. They were listening. Singing was not the usual thing to hear in a prison, so it was startling to the prisoners. What were they hearing? Was it their imagination? No, it really was someone singing a song of praise to God.
Then their ears and their bodies picked up a different sound. A rumble, coming from deep under the deepest dungeon floor, a grumble from the heart of the earth that could be felt almost before it was heard, started softly but increasing in strength till it was a mighty roar of enormous power. Earthquake!
These men, many of whom were already condemned to death, realized that the end was near. An earthquake would collapse the prison and no one even cared whether the prisoners were dead or alive to rescue them.
However suddenly instead of the earthen roofs over their head collapsing, the jail cell doors sprang open and the stocks that bound their hands and feet fell off. The songs of praise continued from the dungeon and no one moved.
Every prisoner was set free by the power of praise.