Hear Our Praises, Part 1of2, Pastor Phil Sessa

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Acts 16:25 “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises to God: and the prisoners heard them.

Are you one that enjoys praising God? Most people associate praise with being in a church building on a Sunday morning. Perhaps when you speak with another believer you affirm one another by saying, “Amen” or “Praise God!”. It’s much easier to praise God when things are going well, but do you put equal effort into praising God when things are not looking so promising. Paul and Silas praised God while they were sitting in prison. There are times when you and I feel like we are trapped in some sort of prison. Perhaps our problem or situation seems so big that we feel imprisoned by it. I have felt that way at times. At those times in our lives, if there was such a thing as a “praise-o-meter” with 0 being little praise and 10 being total praise, how does our praise to the Lord measure at those times? Paul and Silas were thrown in prison for preaching the Gospel. Perhaps there are times, as I have experienced, when the Gospel has “gotten you in trouble,” but you were being obedient to the Lord. Perhaps you were asked to do something unethical, deceptive, or even immoral and because you stood for the Lord, your boss fired you, a relationship was broken, etc…. However it was during the time when it was “most difficult” to praise God that Paul and Silas praised God together. It wasn’t just Paul and it wasn’t just Silas, they partnered in praise. Perhaps many of us would have been praying for deliverance from the prison, but God used this praise to bring about great things. Don’t forget that God is not the only one that hears our praises, but others do as well. We don’t praise God aloud so show off, but simply because we love Him. This following illustration will display the power of praise.

Ira Sankey, before he became D. L. Moody’s famous song leader (and a powerful preacher himself), was assigned to night duty in the American Civil War. While he was on duty, he lifted his eyes toward heaven and began to sing, praising the Lord while he was alone. At least, he thought he was alone.

Years later, after the war had ended, Sankey was on a ship traveling across the Atlantic Ocean. Since he was now a famous singer, a crowd of people approached him and asked him to sing. He lifted his eyes toward heaven and sang a beautiful hymn. After his song, a man from the crowd asked him if, on a certain night during the Civil War, he had performed night duty for a certain infantry unit. “Yes, I did,” was his reply. The man continued, “I was on the opposite side of the war, and I was hiding in a bush near your camp. With my rifle aimed at your head, I was about to shoot you when you looked toward heaven and began to sing. I thought, ‘Well, I like music, and this guy has a nice voice. I’ll sit here, let him sing the song, . . . and then shoot him. He’s not going anywhere.’ But then I realized what you were singing. It was the same hymn my mother used to sing at my bedside when I was a child. And it’s the same hymn you sang tonight! I tried, but that night during the Civil War, I was powerless to shoot you.”

Ira Sankey pointed that man to Christ. He and thousands of others were saved under Sankey’s ministry. All this stemmed from the fact that Sankey praised the Lord at all times.

Whatever you are going through today, even if you feel like you are in a prison, praise Him.

Until the nets are filled…Blessings, Pastor Phil <><

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