FROM THE GENERAL OVERSEER,
Pastor (Dr) E. O. Abina
Sunday 27th December, 2015.
“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard 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 every one’s bands were loosed (Act 16:25-26).
Circumstances, situations, problems and challenges regardless of the name we give to them are common landmarks in the journey of life as they manifest in divers forms. Life issues may begin with a situation. When you have grappled with a situation or challenge for quite a time and it is not solved, you begin to see it as a problem and when the problem seems to have defied all efforts, it begin to seem like a mountain, fixed, immovable, something to be lived with rather than without and when you begin to feel there is no more solution, it begins to feel like a prison. Someone said, “the biggest problem in the world would have been solved when it was still small”. However, even small problems may defy solutions and become big. Regardless of the size of your problem, God is up to the task.
“And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18:27).
Paul and Silas were first beaten. You may have been beaten and felt defeated by life’s problem and the natural thing you want to do is complain, murmur and give up. But Paul and Silas did not do that, they prayed and praised. They were not only imprisoned; their feet were bound in stocks to ensure that they cannot move around. If their feet were bound in chains they would have had minimal movement. Whichever situation that may have held you bound or stagnated you as you engage these principles you will have absolute victory over them in Jesus name.
Paul and Silas fired a double barrelled weapon against their situation. Prayer on its own is a weapon of mass destruction, Jesus said in Matthew 18:19 “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven”. Mary the Queen of Scotland is reputed to have said that “I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the armies of England”.
Only one man’s prayer, without bombs or warships or guns is more powerful than a whole army of a nation. The bible puts it this way “The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].” James 5:16b AMP. So by engaging in prayer, power was made available to Paul and Silas. The fact that they chose a specific time to begin their prayer and praise which was at midnight hour seems to suggest to us that they might have got into the habit of praying at this hour.
Praise is an instrument of ministration to our God and a weapon of warfare. Psalms149:6 “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand”. Praise triggers the miraculous. Praise is known to bring down walls; the shouts of the Israelites brought down the walls of Jericho. The walls represent longstanding issues; they are like mountains. Some walls have stood firm for centuries just like prison walls; they confine and define its occupants. Paul and Silas engaged this weapon that is known to bring down walls – praise and there was an earthquake. The doors were opened and the bounds were loosed.
Breakout praise ignores the situation, Paul and Silas did not focus on their circumstance. Habakkuk 3:17-18 “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation”.
There is victory in your praise. The breakout praise is the praise that breaks you out from all problems that may have plagued you. It signals the end of sickness, oppression and affliction. It is not the kind of praise that is just an empty show of your latest dancing steps or sheer entertainment which seeks to display vocal mastery and hops from one song to the other without pondering on what the words really mean but which is just attracted to the melody, the call and response and the instrumentations. Such praises do not rise above the ceiling of the house.
It is not the praise where you are too dignified to dance because people are watching. It is the Davidic kind of praise and dance where no one matters but God. This is the breakout praise that causes the breakthrough and brings divine solution and intervention. It is the praise connected to your whole heart, flowing with gratitude, thanking him for who he is, for what he has done, for what he will do, for what he chooses not to do. It is the praise that looks at the situation and regardless of the situation, will lift up its head and praise God.
Let us pray
1. Forgive me Lord for all the times when I should praise you but I fail to.
2. Father, Remove from me a murmuring and complaining spirit
3. Father, Remove every spirit of heaviness and clothe me with a garment of praise
4. Sing a song of high praises to God.