Now that I live in California, I’ve experienced a couple “earthquakes.” I used quotation marks, because they were more like tremors, but we could feel it. The first one happened in spring of 2020. Faith and I live near railroad tracks, and a very busy road. We felt a “flump” and wondered if a car had crashed, or a train had derailed.

People at church said that we were now true Californians!

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas have been put in prison for telling others about Jesus, and specifically, seeing a woman in human trafficking set free. They are both put in the lowest of the dungeons, shackled, with a heavy guard.

About midnight, Paul and Silas began praying and singing to the Lord.

If I were put in jail, I have to confess that I probably wouldn’t be singing and praying…at least the way they were. Acts 16:25, “…and the other prisoners were listening.” They were a captive audience. (sorry, I went there)

Here’s what happens in the rest of the story:

  • they pray and sing, while in pain and inconceration
  • all of the prisoners chains fall off, along with theirs
  • the prison guard decides to kill himself, (this would have been an advantage to the prisoners)
  • the jailer’s attempted suicide is stopped by Paul and Silas
  • the jailer gets saved, along with his entire family
  • Paul and Silas are cleared of all charges

What was it that caused a massive earthquake? Of course, there are some that would say it was purely coincidental. That’s the natural answer.

The super-natural answer is found in the text, “they prayed and sang hymns..” The word “hymn” is “to sing praises.” The singing of hymns was directly correlated to the Psalms of praise, (hallel) in Psalm 113-118. In Psalm 114 we read this lyric “tremble, o earth, at the presence of the Lord..”

As they were singing in the jail, God was listening in heaven. They must have had good rhythm, because the next thing you know, the earth – God’s footstool – is trembling, shaking, quaking.

God started tapping his foot on his footstool. He enlisted the rocks for a percussion section.

Doug Small says, “God doesn’t answer prayer, He answers people.” Paul and Silas began to pray TO God and SING the word of God. The Lord just couldn’t help himself.

What results of praying and praising!

Why not examine your current situation. Are people in similar circumstances listening to your prayers and song? Does your language sound just like theirs? Paul and Silas had the eyes and ears of every prisoner and the jailer that night. The next day, they had the eyes and ears of the governing authority.

When we decide, in the middle of the worst of things, to pray and declare God’s word in song, God listens, and He answers.

He might even tap his foot!