Posted by Craig Borlase on 8 March 2018

TeachingThe Power of Worship

part 2: Tearing Down The Prison Walls

Worship is powerful. We know that, don’t we? Sometimes it does us good to be reminded of the truth. Sometimes it’s good to go back to the old stories and remember what they can teach us…

Picture Silas and Paul in jail. It was Paul’s second missionary journey, and while traveling to Greece, the missionaries were arrested, beaten, and imprisoned.

It is midnight. Their hands and feet are bound in the stocks and they’ve been grossly unfairly treated. They are the victims of a miscarriage of justice. They have something to complain about. They have cause to feel sorry for themselves. They have a right to feel angry.

And they also have reason to fear. There, in the darkness, broken and bruised from their beating, unaware of what the authorities are really planning on doing with them, they have every reason to feel scared. They could be forgiven for feeling discouraged, saddened by the fact that their plans appear to have failed. They have every reason to feel bad.

Anger and fear. Sorrow and despair. These are normal reactions. These are the main ingredients which would feature in so many of our responses.

But not Silas and Paul.

Their bodies may be chained up, but their spirits are free. And what are they doing? They are singing. From their lips come songs of worship, trust and praise. And that praise becomes their soundtrack for a miraculous release from prison.

But even without the escape, they’re still free.

Even if their life ended that night in that jail, Silas and Paul would have remained free. 


There’s something about worship and singing that can bring true freedom, even in the worst of times. It’s not just about the power of positive thinking or the value of seeing the glass half full rather than half empty. Worship does something.

It’s not just an emotional outlet or a chance to distract ourselves from the real word for a time. Worship has power – more than enough power to break down some prison walls, more than enough power to turn our hearts and minds to God in spite of whatever else is going on around us.

The story of Silas and Paul reminds us of another essential truth. It says that Christian joy cannot be earned. Some people might try to suggest that joy is a reward for wisdom, wealth or intellect, that we get happiness when we play the game right. But true joy doesn’t play by those rules. True joy is a gift.

Thanks to Jesus, all of us - no matter what kind of circumstance we’re facing - can know joy. It is for this very reason that Silas and Paul were able to sing their socks off in prison. Because joy is given, not earned.

Why do we sing? We sing because we can – because we are free, not chained by circumstance or a slave to whatever the world throws at us.

And we sing because we want to be more free – to know God more deeply, to follow Him more closely.

Worship is both a symptom and a cause. It shows how much we have been changed and it changes us further still.

And with these songs of praise and devotion in our hearts, our view of the world is transformed, allowing us to see the world a little more like He does.


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