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. ~Acts 16:25-26
“Breakout” is a term that is used in many descriptive ways. It is used to describe something unexpected that occurs, like the breakout of a rash. In the stock market, it describes a stock that comes out of either a slump or sideways action. It describes a jail break, as in our Scripture this morning. It is a word that aptly describes an occurrence or series of occurrences that demonstrate a change that is powerful. As Christians, there are seasons in our lives when we need a breakout of God’s power in a fresh and demonstrative way through us. Let us see how a breakout occurs.
We see the predicament.
Paul and Silas were terribly beaten and thrown into prison, with their feet fastened in stocks. They had been falsely accused, made a public humiliation, physically and emotionally hurt, and locked up where they could not continue the public work God that called them to do. They were rendered ineffective in their service for God. When we experience setbacks, trials, and unexpected problems, these events can discourage us, dismantle us, and leave us feeling a sense of worthlessness. What Paul and Silas went through are vital signs to us to examine if we are in need of a breakout in our life.
We see the praying.
Paul and Silas decided not to be victims of their circumstances. At midnight, when others were sleeping, they arose to pray and sing praises to God. I believe that this situation was a transformational point in Paul’s prayer life when he said in Philippians 1:4, “Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy.” Praying changed the situation they were in into an opportunity. All the prisoners heard them pray and sing. They were praying for the men who hurt them. They were praying for the jailer and his family. They were praying for the prisoners in that prison. They were praying for the city of Philippi and the area of Macedonia. There is never a breakout until there is first a season of earnest prayer.
We see the process.
“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.” God sent an earthquake that shook things up. If you want a breakout, be ready for God to shake things up around you. God might have to shake up a “dead” church service or prayer time. God might have to shake up a stubborn attitude. God opened the prison doors and everyone’s bands were loosed. If you want a breakout to occur, be ready for God to break the chains that have been holding you and others around you. The biggest chain that God needs to break is the chain of unbelief. Another chain that God will break is the chain of complacency and indifference.
We see the product.
Paul and Silas were ready for the breakout that God gave them. This breakout was not for an easy escape, but for an exciting exhibition of God’s power. First, Paul exercised life-saving wisdom. The jailer thought that the prisoners escaped, and he was ready to kill himself. Paul said, “Do thyself no harm.” When there is a breakout of God’s power, we have wisdom that helps other lives. Second, Paul exemplified a soul-saving witness. Paul and Silas were used of God to lead the jailer, his wife, and his children to faith in Christ. Third, Paul encouraged a city-wide work. The church at Philippi expanded and grew because of this breakout.
When our productivity is little to none and we hit rock bottom in our life, it is time to seek a God-sent breakout. If tough times happen in your life, pray for God to give you a breakout.
Have a breakout God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Job 21-23