Jail became common to the disciples, and outcomes were unpredictable; Herod killed James, an angel rescued Peter (see Acts 12:1-7). So when Paul and Silas were thrown into prison, it was not surprising to find them praying deep into the night. But if you think they were praying for themselves, you’d be wrong.
The jailer had strict orders “to keep them safely” (Acts 16:23), but an earthquake struck, releasing their bonds and opening the gates of their cells. If they were praying for a miracle, this was it! The jailer knew it, too, and “he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped” (Acts 16:27). Instead, Paul and Silas had remained in their cell. They traded their safety for the jailer’s salvation and convinced the other prisoners to remain, as well. When the jailer saw this, he asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
While sitting in jail, their future in doubt, the prayers of Paul and Silas were not for the safety of themselves, but the salvation of others, and the jailer “was baptized at once, he and all his family” (Acts 16:33). That was the real miracle.
Heavenly Father, my time is not as important as someone’s eternity, my safety not as important as their salvation. May my prayers and my priorities reflect the values of heaven and may my life point others to my Lord.
I trust you with all my life and that changes my attitude about everything and everyone. Teach me to love others more, to live boldly, to share freely, to serve like my Savior.