Paul and Silas, first-century missionaries, were arrested for stirring up trouble in Philippi. They were stripped, beaten, and locked in stocks in a cell deep within the jail. If you and I were beaten and thrown into prison in a foreign country, we would probably be anxious and worried. But Paul and Silas chose to trust God and turned to Him in prayer. Confident that He heard their prayers and would care for them even in prison, they began praising Him. Acts 16:26 tells what happened next. “Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.”
When we choose to respond to trouble by praising God, we may not find such an immediate, miraculous change in our circumstances. But we will be gradually set free from the prison of worry and anxiety which holds us. Why? As we consider God’s attributes and praise Him for them, our trust in God expands along with our conception of Him. We are reminded that God is all powerful and will provide the grace and strength we need to face any challenge.
Timothy Keller, author of The Prodigal God, writes, “If you are filled with worry and anxiety, you do not only need to believe that God is in control of history. You must see, with eyes of the heart, his dazzling majesty. Then you will know he has things in hand.”
How can we see God’s “dazzling majesty”?
- Spend time in nature. Witness the beauty of creation or the vastness of the night sky.
- Read Psalms of praise (such as Psalms 95-100) aloud. Notice the awe and wonder the psalmist expresses.
- Worship with others who have glimpsed God’s majesty.
Next time you feel threatened by fear or worry, shift your focus. Spend time considering God’s attributes and His power. Give Him your praise and adoration. You can depend on Him for miracles—fast ones or slow ones.
When have you experienced the power of praise?