Let’s look at a situation in Acts 16 where attitude changed the course of events. Starting in Acts 16:16 we read, “And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, and brought them to the magistrates, saying, ‘These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, and teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.’ And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.”
We will stop right there for a moment and review the situation. Paul and Silas basically got tired of the spirit that was in the slave girl who kept following them and proclaiming who they were. What she was saying was truth, but this was greatly annoying Paul. So in the name of Jesus Christ, he commanded the spirit to come out of her. Suddenly, her masters were without their easy income. I’m sure this greatly annoyed them, so they had Paul and Silas arrested. Please notice that they were beaten with rods several times. The wounds resulting from these beatings were most likely left untreated. Then they were thrown into the deepest part of prison, where conditions were the worst. It was usually dark and cramped and almost assuredly had a sickening stench from the toilet situation. They were fastened into painful leg or wrist chains. So try to mentally put yourself in their place. Take a moment to consider what your attitude would be in that situation. Let’s read on in Acts.
Acts 16 verse 25 says, “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.” Do you think you would feel like singing hymns to God if you were in their situation? Perhaps they didn’t feel like it either. But they started praying and started singing hymns to God despite their circumstances. Notice it says the other prisoners could hear it and were listening to them. We have to keep in mind that others around us can tell how we handle a situation, too, by our words and our actions.
In the verses following, there was a great earthquake that shook the foundations of the prison, opened all the doors, and everyone’s chains were loosed. I heard of a preacher who described it as God hearing the music, tapping His foot to it, and since the earth is His footstool, it caused a great earthquake!
When we are down in the depths of despair, in our own inner prison, so to speak, we would be wise to do just what Paul and Silas did. We can always pray and sing hymns or songs to God, or even play some Godly music. When we do that, the Spirit can work in us to improve our attitude and loose us from our chains and even bring us out of that inner prison we are confined to. I challenge you to do just that. See what a difference the Spirit can make in your attitude and in your day. But I believe it was a decision that Paul and Silas had to make, and it is a decision you have to make, a decision to go ahead and praise the Lord through your trial.