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What to Do in a Dark Place

Daily Reading: Acts 16

Scripture Focus: About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God. (Acts 16.25a)

Devotional Thought: Have you ever been in a dark place? Paul and Silas found themselves in a very dark place in Philippi. They had been falsely accused, unjustly arrested, viciously beaten, and thrown into jail. As a matter of fact, the jailer "put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks." I don't think that we can really appreciate what that was like. The jails of Paul's day were dark and cruel places. No light was provided. It was always dark.

And, Paul and Silas were in the inner prison - where no light would ever penetrate. Their feet were in stocks - where no comfort could be found. To top it off, it was midnight! Where no hope could be found. But they found hope. They felt comfort. There flared an inner light. And they sang. Yes, they sang!

I've been in dark places before. It was hard to sing. It was hard to pray. I've been with my people - those I love and serve for the sake of Christ - in very dark places. Prayers and songs are sometimes hard to come by.

What did Paul and Silas do? In the darkness of the inner cell - unable to see their hands in front of their faces, with their feet in stocks - unable to find any comfort, in the depths of the night - uncertain if morning would ever come for them, they prayed! "When they prayed, they felt a joy rising within their hearts. This caused them to break forth into singing. Sincere prayer always leads ultimately to praise. And praise dispels the gloom." (Earle, BBC, Acts, 450)

When you're in a dark place, remember to pray. Let your heart sing. God will dispel the gloom.

Prayer: Father, thank you for your faithfulness. In the dark places of my life, help me to pray. And when I do, put a song in my heart. May your light fill my gloomy nights. Amen

Psalm of the Day: 8 May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth! 9 May desert tribes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust! 10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands render him tribute; may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts! 11 May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him! 12 For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. 13 He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. 14 From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight. 15 Long may he live; may gold of Sheba be given to him! May prayer be made for him continually, and blessings invoked for him all the day! 16 May there be abundance of grain in the land; on the tops of the mountains may it wave; may its fruit be like Lebanon; and may people blossom in the cities like the grass of the field! (Psalms 72:8-16)

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