“Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas . . . and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:29-30)
The well-known account of the Philippian jailer is mentioned in the hymn “Brethren, We Have Met to Worship.” Paul and Silas were wrongly imprisoned for the gospel’s sake, yet they “prayed, and sang praises unto God” (Acts 16:25). God answered their prayer, and the jailer turned to them for rescue. This was the start of ministry on the European continent.
Is there here a trembling jailer,
Seeking grace, and filled with tears?
Is there here a weeping Mary,
Pouring forth a flood of tears?
Brethren, join your cries to help them;
Sisters, let your prayers abound;
Pray, Oh pray that holy manna
May be scattered all around.
The “weeping Mary” is either the mourning sister of Lazarus (John 11) or Mary Magdalene, who met her risen Lord outside the tomb (John 20:11-15). All the tears were very real. Heartache and tears should drive us to prayer, to the One who can answer, fill, and heal.
We are told that if we pray “according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 John 5:15). But even if we don’t know His will in a particular situation, we can still pray, for “the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26).
So, brothers and sisters, pray. JDM
Click here for the sheet music for this hymn.