**It was something I thought I would never do again. **It was a small thing and maybe doesn’t sound impressive, but for me, joining a community choir when I thought my voice was past salvaging took a lot of courage. I was living in a new city and I needed some outward focus. It took a little brash bravery, but only a little, I realized after reading Acts 16.
I wonder what courage it took for Paul and Silas to sing after being beaten with rods and chained in prison? They became prisoners because they commanded freedom from bondage through the authority and name of Jesus Christ. They were suffering for releasing a girl from an evil spirit.
Regardless of the pain they were in, they decided to sing and pray out loud to God. They literally had a captive audience! Even though it was no high-energy rock concert, around midnight an earthquake rumbled and shook the foundations of the prison. All the doors were opened and all the chains on the prisoners were unfastened (Acts 16:26).
Are there doors that shut you in today? What chains bind you? What midnight darkness surrounds you? Long ago in a jail in Philippi, singing, praising, and praying to the Lord opened doors and broke chains and freed prisoners. Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Starting small, with a song, may be a way to “stand firm” today.
We thank you Lord Jesus that you came to free us. We want to be free. When we feel oppressed or bound, help us to humbly follow the example of Paul and Silas and trust that you are freeing us even before we are aware of it. Awake us to light and joy and wholeness in Christ through song.
Even if you don’t feel like it, sing. Studies show that singing changes your brain. It lowers levels of cortisol and lessens feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Apparently, group singing is the most exhilarating and transformative of all. So pick a song and sing!
Photo Credit: Teddy Kelley