February 18, 2018
Acts 16:25-26… About midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s bonds were unfastened.
This was one of the sections of scripture that was of serious importance when I was a young man. Preachers said that it was singing to the Lord that set the captives free. We treated it like a formula and tried it in various situations. You can imagine our consternation when it didn’t work. We tried different songs, different settings, and different combinations of people, but, it didn’t work.
That was a long time ago. I have, since, learned that the Bible does not give us formulas; it gives us relationship. Paul had a living relationship with God. He wasn’t just singing songs; he was singing to God, whom he knew and trusted. God, who know all things, knew that and responded to him. And that is a principle of God that I find essential to life with Him. He responds to people, not to their actions. That comment is a bit less than true. He responds to our actions but He knows our hearts and it is that knowledge that moves Him. When 2 people pray for deliverance, one might be praying for freedom while the other one is praying for deliverance from chains that hinder relationship with God. God knows the difference.
Most people think they would be better off with a little more money. Don’t you? God hears all prayers but He also sees all hearts. He knows that some people need more money to survive. He also knows that some people just want more wealth for their own benefit. Some people pray for healings and such hoping that people will notice that they prayed and it happened. The moral of this story? Check your motives. Check your heart. Is it pure? A pure heart is not selfishly motivated; it is humbly submitted to God’s desires. It seems that we can know the condition of our heart. At the same time, we can’t know the condition of another’s heart. From today’s scripture we learn that it is always the right time to praise the lord. That is about our relationship to God.