An Old Testament counterpart is found in Second Chronicles 20, when Jehoshaphat went out against the enemy. Three armies—the Ammonites, the Moabites, and the inhabitants of Mount Seir—had banded together against Jehoshaphat. He didn't have the manpower to stand against them, so he called a prayer meeting. The people fasted and prayed.
The Spirit of God moved upon a young man in the congregation, and he stood and prophesied. The Lord told them not to fear. He told them where the enemy was and said to go against them because the battle was the Lord's.
The next morning they marched against the enemy, and the Bible says they put the praisers up front. Picture these men going against three armies of trained soldiers who had swords, javelins, and spears. Right up front to lead the parade of God's army were the praisers. They weren't led by a man with a sword or a spear. They were led by men singing and praising the Lord.
They ministered to the Lord. As they marched along, they shouted, "Praise the Lord; for His mercy endureth for ever" (2 Chron. 20:21).
We see in the next verse what happened as a result: "And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten."
When they began to sing and praise, God did something for His people. They saw a manifestation of His power. They didn't have to draw a sword or throw a javelin. The enemy ran off and left all their goods. There was so much spoil it took three days to gather it up and carry it home!
Paul and Silas had their feet in stocks. Their backs were bleeding. From the natural standpoint, they had every reason to be downcast. But at midnight, as they ministered to God, there came a manifestation of God's power.
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