25 Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 All at once there was such a violent earthquake that it shook the prison’s foundations. The doors flew open and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 When the jailer awoke and saw the open doors of the prison, he thought the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul shouted loudly, “Don’t harm yourself! We’re all here!”
29 The jailer called for some lights, rushed in, and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He led them outside and asked, “Honorable masters, what must I do to be rescued?”
Worship has the power to reshape the world around us.
That is literally true in this story from Acts, where we read how Paul and Silas’ praise of God brought on an earthquake that opened the prison doors.
There are other stories we can cite, too, like a famous story from John Wesley’s life where he was caught in a storm at sea. As he recounts in his journal, he led some of the English-speaking passengers onboard in prayer. But when a wave crashed over the decks, pouring water into the cabins below, Wesley’s people began screaming in terror. Even the preacher was afraid. Meanwhile, in another corner, Wesley witnessed the fervent prayers and praises of a group of German-speaking Moravian Christians who seemed completely unperturbed by the fierce winds and violent rocking of the ship. Not even the children seemed fearful. Wesley found himself inspired to seek that kind of faith, even writing in his journal: “This is the most glorious day I have yet seen.” This experience – simply observing the heartfelt worship of others – changed Wesley forever.
The power worship has to reshape the world begins with it’s power to reshape us. But when God shows up, it doesn’t end there. I’ve always been struck by the fact that even when the prison doors flew open, Paul and Silas didn’t run away. Instead, they stayed and preached to the jailer, who was suddenly ready to hear what they had to say.
The power of worship is not just in its power to reshape us, but to reshape the world around us, even among those who only experience its effects second- or third-hand!
by Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
Consider the most powerful experience of worship you’ve ever had. Are there ways that experience continues to echo out into the world?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, be at work in our prayers and praises today to grant us a powerful sense of your presence. Make yourself known to us, because we want your peace, power, and love to be known in the world! Amen.