After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: "Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever." As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.
~ 2 Chronicles 20:21-22 (NIV)
The overflow of singing praises amid great difficulties has tremendous spiritual power for helping to win the spiritual battle. Paul and Silas set the biblical pattern in the prison in Philippi. Pastor Jack Hayford enjoys sharing the story as told by his favourite black preacher. Paul and Silas' prison cell singing was heard all the way to the throne room of God. He began to tap his toe to the music. Since heaven is His throne and the earth is His footstool; that created an earthquake!!!
Ivan Antonov spent twenty-four years in Russian prison camps for preaching the gospel. He later shared how he survived:
I would sing hymns. I was really glad that I knew so many. I had memorized about one hundred seventy hymns, and in order not to forget them, I reviewed several every day. So over a time, I sang through all of them. I want to emphasize to my young friends that you should worship God with songs and poems and memorize them. They will come in handy...I sang hymns every morning and at night before going to bed...In those quiet [morning] hours, I would go outside in the fresh air and sing hymns of praise to God and pray. Then I went in for breakfast with everyone else.
China’s notable pastor Wang Ming-dao shared upon his release from prison that he frequently sang praises to God to buoy his spirits. The songs that meant the most to him were “All The Way My Savior Leads Me” and “Safe In The Arms Of Jesus.”
His contemporary, Allen Yuan shared with me two songs which he repeatedly sang aloud throughout his nearly twenty-two years in prison. One was “The Old Rugged Cross” and the other “Psalm Twenty-Seven” from the Chinese Psalter. It was always an emotional highlight to hear him sing these songs.
RESPONSE: Today I will sing praises to the Lord my God.
PRAYER: Lord, help me to rejoice and sing praises to You, especially when I feel the challenges of spiritual warfare.
1. Ivan Antonov, “Survival 101: How to prepare for imprisonment,” Prisoner Bulletin (1989), p.13.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.