Response: Believed on in the World
But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them;  and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's chains were unfastened.  And when the jailer had been roused out of sleep and had seen the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.  But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Do yourself no harm, for we are all here!"  And he called for lights and rushed in and, trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas,  and after he brought them out, he said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"  And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household."  And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house.  And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.  And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.
Turn about, as they say, is fair play. The persecutor of the church sat in jail for the proclamation of the gospel. Late into the night, he and his companion sat on a cold stone floor, restrained around the ankles by rough hewn wooden stocks. By now, a cold chill was setting into his frail body. Unable to move about, he sat in a pool of his own blood and body fluids. His muscles were aching from the beating he took at the hands of the Roman guards-he was stiffening up. In the inner cell, darkness penetrated the room. The room was cold, dark and hopeless.
Paul knew how the children of Israel must have felt in their captivity when they said:
For there our captors demanded of us songs, And our tormentors mirth, saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion."  How can we sing the Lord's song In a foreign land? (Psalms 137:3-4)
But then again, maybe he didn't. Sitting in prison, Paul had a captive audience so he capitalized on the opportunity to bring some light into the terrible circumstance. He prayed and sang hymns.
The prisoners listened.
And so did God!
An earthquake rumbled through the region. The prison shook, and as it did the noise drowned out the sounds of the Apostle's praise. Wood creaked, rocks slammed to the ground and the timber that fastened the door to the jail fell out.
As quick as it came, it departed. Dust settled. Silence. Paul heard the jailers sandals pound against the cobblestone as he ran to the front door of the prison, then the unmistakable sound of his sword unsheathing.
"Stop" Paul yelled, "we're
all here, don't harm yourself."