Speaking to the Soul – Thursday September 23

A short reading and prayers for today

Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations.
Acts 16:25-26 NLT

The ministry of Paul and Silas in Philippi soon hit the buffers when they healed a slave girl who was a fortune teller. She had made good money for her owners until she was healed. They were furious when they realised that their source of income had disappeared. They dragged Paul and Silas into the market-place, where they got the support of the magistrates to beat and imprison them. I wonder how you or I would have responded to this. Paul and Silas had been severely flogged and must have been very injured and bruised. Having had a very specific call from God to serve him in this Macedonian area, you wouldn’t be surprised if they were feeling very let down by him. But there they were in a top security prison cell praying and singing hymns to God! What amazing men they were! To cap it all, the prison was suddenly shaken by an earthquake. Its doors were thrown open and the jailer, presuming that the prisoners had escaped, decided that his only option was to commit suicide. Paul and Silas assured him that the prisoners were all there. The jailer asked what he must do to be saved and Paul and Silas told him to believe in the Lord Jesus. This he gladly did, and he and his family were baptised.

This is a gripping story! And it helps us to see what Paul meant when he wrote in Ephesians 5.20 about always “giving thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” On the face of it, Paul and Silas didn’t have much to give thanks for when they were slung into that prison cell. But when the focus of your life is God himself then, however wretched the circumstances, you will always have reason to give thanks.


For what reason can you give thanks to God right now?


Lord God our Father, we praise you for your endless generosity. Amen

Lord, we pray thee
that thy grace may always prevent and follow us,
and make us continually to be given to all good works;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Almighty God,
you have made us for yourself,
and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you:
Teach us to offer ourselves to your service,
that here we may have your peace,
and in the world to come may see you face to face;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.