Acts 16:22-24 “And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.”

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

Acts 16:32-34 “And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believed in God with all his house.”

Something caught my attention for the first time after recently reading through this passage in Acts. Previously I had noticed that Paul and Silas had a praise-filled demeanor while in prison, and that such an expression of their faith directly related to their ability to represent the Lord well and successfully witness to the jailor and his family. Yet, there was something additionally important in this context that I had previously missed.

Before being arrested, Paul and Silas had been beaten. Once released, the jailor washed the stripes on their backs, indicating that these wounds were fresh and raw. Thus, while they sang praises to the Lord, they had open wounds that would have been stinging with pain.

Not only was their demeanor praise-filled while they were in prison, but it was praise-filled in the midst of the pain and discomfort of stripes that riddled their back and caused them to be racked with pain.

It easy for American Christians to bemoan the tough situations we face in a society that is quickly diverging from the Lord. We face reputational discomfort as we stand for our faith and speak out against the sin that is all around us. Yet, very few of us are imprisoned for our testimonies, and it is highly unlikely that if we are, we do so with backs stinging and oozing with lash-induced stripes. How is our demeanor, then, with such relatively minor discomfort?

PLEASE PRAY FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO LIVE PRAISE-FILLED LIVES IN ORDER TO ATTRACT PEOPLE TO OUR PRAISE-WORTHY GOD. The multitude that could rise up against us at any moment needs to hear about the reason for our praying, singing and praising.