Key Text: Acts 16:19-40 & 2nd Chronicles 20:17-22.
While Paul & Silas were recovering from the whips of rods, and sitting jailed in chains, they prayed to the Lord and also sang to Him. Where did they find the strength for that desire to talk and sing to God? The truth. Paul & Silas were convinced that they were enslaved to God in Jesus who is the very essence of love and power. Their pain and chains here on earth, were not to be compared to the glory they were to receive. Romans 8:13-18. They knew they were called by Christ to suffer, and that their suffering would indeed lead to the salvation of souls by the spreading of the truth by their suffering, 1Peter 2:21. These two facts alone, should be enough to enlighten any Christians heart to pray and sing while undergoing wrong-doing for the right we are doing! Why? Because it is God’s power that motivates us to show goodness, not our own, 2Thess. 1:11. If we believe that we must find our own strength to show goodness, we will find our self growing weary and discouraged, unable to even praise Him or pray to Him. But if we really believe the truth, that God provides His power to show goodness in our life, then we will feel grateful in praising Him and always be willing to tell Him of our thankfulness and how great and good He is.
Praise & Prayer have always been used in getting God’s will accomplished. 2Chronicles 20:17-22 is a good example. King Jehoshaphat of Judah prayed for wisdom in facing the warring Ammonites, Moabites & Meunites of Mt.Seir. God answered through Jahaziel (fourth generation from the Psalmist Asaph), Jahaziel said God wanted them to go and meet the enemies, because THIS IS GOD’S BATTLE & HE IS WITH YOU. The next day, King Jehoshaphat appointed people to sing and praise God publicly in front of the soldiers armed to fight. As soon as they proceeded and began singing, the Lord mysteriously caused the three warring enemies to fight each other, instead of the armies of Judah. They ended up wiping each other out! The tribe of Judah then went over the corpses of the enemies and collected a large amount of bounty and rejoiced all the way back to Jerusalem. All the nations around Judah feared our God and they enjoyed peace for over 20 years. When we are facing our enemies, do we ever use prayer and/or praise? How often would we overcome temptation if we did?
Three Objectives of Christian Praise
1. To praise God with your heart, Ephesians 5:19
2. To teach & warn one another, Colossians 3:16
3. To encourage and edify one another, 1st Corinthians 14:6.
Jesus set an example of singing with his disciples. The only time it is recorded is on the night he was betrayed. Matthew 26:30, Mark 14:26. We know by Jewish tradition what he surely sang, (Psalms 113-118, Psalm 136 & 145:10) but we do not know for sure how he sang it. Most likely it was a solemn chant, rather than a boisterous melody. The reason God is silent on the mode and melody of Jesus singing is this: God does not want us to feel pressured into practicing a particular type of Jewish praise. The same mindset was in the writers of the New Testament, which were mainly Jewish. They had use and knowledge of instruments in their praise as Jews, but refrained from imitating that in Christian praise. The only mode or melody of music for the apostles, Jesus and his disciples was singing with grace in our hearts. This takes on all types of music in the very generic description of Colossians 3:16. In this way, all Christians in all cultures and in any generation can express their love, praise and joy of the Lord at any time we need to derive God’s strength overcoming temptation.