One night, it was around midnight, on the other side of the planet, two guys were thrown in prison – wrongfully. But their prayer and praise and hymn singing resulted in earth and soul-shaking miracles.
The very foundations of the prison were shaken. This was literal. Today, we do not find ourselves in literal prisons – but rather, demonic strongholds, or fortresses. These strongholds also have foundations. What would be the foundation of addiction, for example? The foundation of depression? The foundation of pride? I would venture to suggest that the foundation for most if not all demonic strongholds – that which all outward symptoms are built upon, is deceit. Lies.
When we see our prison-like circumstance as an opportunity to lift up the name of Jesus (in prayer and praise), the very foundation upon which demons have been stationed – becomes powerfully shaken! The core of their arsenal, their “Big Guns”, Lies, are dismantled. Rendered impotent.
And as a result, every time, there is a releasing. There is a spiritual opening of doors, and breaking of chains! 😳
There is a supernatural freedom that accompanies the proclamation of Truth.
But notice – the last 4 words of this passage. “Everyone’s chains were unfastened.”
Freedom did not just come to Paul and to Silas. But when they used their voices in the midst of their utter agony, sitting in their pools of blood, to give praise to Jesus, and lift up expectant prayers…everyone around them who was held captive became free! Paul and Silas’s decision to praise in the prison directly resulted in not just their own release, but the release of everyone else in that dungeon.
Our praise in duress. Our fervent, expectant prayer. Our singing – can do the same. Make it loud. Our God will shake the enemy to his core. He will open doors that were sealed and locked before. He will unfasten tight chains that were once the source of pain.
When have you encountered immediate freedom from bondage after deciding to sing, praise and pray to Jesus?
UPDATED 8/21: what i’ve learned about this song’s writer is disappointing…but it doesn’t change the fact that God doesn’t change. the lyrics still ring true. the most impacting way to glorify God is through our lifestyles. and the most impacting time? when we are in our most broken state.
i’m praying that through this controversy, the essence of true grace be realized in churches & Christians worldwide. for more on this story, i’ll just “ping” you over to chris from canada who’s posted some really great thoughts & discussion…and has more time than myself, to write on this.
how ’bout this week, let’s think about what God’s Word says: pray for those who hurt you.
7/9: how can we not worship HIM!? every time we do, truth rings in our hearts & our faith is strengthened.
the other day i went walking with angel to pick up braylon from school on the same path we’ve taken since september: pass 3 houses to the street’s end, through the tennis courts & onto the school’s road (pretty busy, espec. when school releases). we’ve always walked on the shoulder & overpass anyway, stopping to look at & discuss how the wetlands have changed that day. i’ve always thought it’d be great to use a safe sidewalk, even pictured myself in a “hutto town hall” discussion about it, but didn’t call the city or even pray. “i’m just one person, & there aren’t many walkers on this road. we’ll be fine”.
so we’re walkin’ & we come across a construction crew by the overpass. the man stopped us to tell us that the city of hutto is building a sidewalk from the tennis courts to the school. i got so excited, i bent down to look at bray & exclaimed, “did u hear that?! they knew we’ve been needin’ a sidewalk & now they’re making one, just for us! it’s a russwalk!” he goes,’yeah! & anybody who walks on it ‘upset’ for us, we’ll throw them over the bridge!’ “well, no, how bout we share it w/everyone. God gave it to us, so we’ll give to everyone else. thanks God, for our very own russwalk.” & with that, we thanked the men & went home, very happy.
God knows our little desires, even when they’re not that important, & He wants to tell us that He listens to our hearts & wants us to be happy. He really loves me, & that day, it was like he gave me a wink to show it. if i’m not observant, i may just pass his winks off as good luck or chance. but (thank u to joyce meyer & her message today about grace) i’ll be keepin’ my eyes peeled for blessings, big or small; they’re expressions of His love, evidence of His grace.
a way of expression…to open & raise your hands.
why? well, here’s a few why-nots to get things rollin’- nobody should be doin’ it if they feel pressured to or they’re just mindlessly complying with a worship leader, or if it feels extremely awkward or inappropriate. but it’s sure not a good idea to make a habit of ‘following your feelings’. sometimes i know that i personally have to go against my feelings & raise my hands in times of worship. worship & praise is often a sacrifice, after all. i was thinking today while driving home from a dentist app’t, why i sometimes raise my hand while worshiping in the car. i figure, well, i do it @ church & @ home; why not the car? so people might think i’m weird. Jesus was weird. what i got ta thinkin’ today was: why do people do it in the first place?
so i did a short study in the Word for some examples of raised or open hands & here’s what i found!
Aaron dedicated the Levites to the Lord as a “special offering“. later, he raised them to bless his people. solomon prayed in this way w/dedication & sanctification (setting israel apart from all nations, as God’s special possession). One man raised his hands to heaven as he took a solemn oath, ezra worshipped the Lord as a huge crowd joined in bowing w/hands raised & faces down. the psalms didn’t let me down w/references as a cry for mercy, an offering of praise, & my favorite passage in this study, ps.145:14-17, refers actually to His open hands (rather than raised); it is a beautiful mentioning of 3 ways He satisfies our needs, only possible w/an open hand (italics added):
14 The LORD upholds all who fall,
And raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look expectantly to You,
And You give them their food in due season.
16 You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17 The LORD is righteous in all His ways,
Gracious in all His works.
so that’s some of what the Word reads. everyone, if they choose to express themselves this way, may do it for different reasons. if i do, it’s usually…
- as a symbol of surrender. in battle, when you give up your rights, when you give up fighting, & surrender to someone’s authority, that is what you do.
- as a way of saying ‘i give all i have’. everything ~ inside & out. you cannot give w/closed fists.
- to show outwardly that i want to rec’v (His blessings, forgiveness & mercy). again, you cannot receive gifts tangibly w/closed fists down at your side. i’m realizing again that these are all gifts, unearned, that i need to symbolically grab a hold of & accept as my own.
i guess some more reasons also could be to:
- physically change posture, helping you to focus & to humble yourself
- show as a response, “i know the Answer!” or “I agree!”
- show to God “here i am, i’m Yours! i am set apart & special…use all of me”… & in saying & displaying this, my grudges, my insecurities & my own agenda are pushed aside.