About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them . . .
– Acts 16:25 (ESV)
I wish I could have been there to hear it. What a holy moment that must have been.
Especially if you consider what had just occurred. Paul and Silas weren’t in any kind of prison we’d recognize. They were in stocks, in a first century dungeon.
“. . . they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers.” – verse 19
“The crowd joined in attacking them” – verse 22
“. . . and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods” – verse 22
“[the jailer] put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.” – verse 24
For the sake of the gospel, Paul and Silas were stripped naked, beaten with rods, and, bruised and bleeding, they were thrown in prison and put in the stocks. My expectation is that the position of their bodies in the stocks was not a comfortable one. This was not what we would call “due process”.
And yet there, in the darkness, they sang. They sang and they prayed.
What I would give to have been there, to hear the sweet songs of supplication, of praise, of victory that they sang. In the stocks, their bodies aching and bruised, Paul and Silas did the last thing anyone would have expected.
No wonder the other prisoners were listening.