They were no longer captive-
"But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them;" (Acts 16:25 NASB)
It does not say how many prisoners were there in prison with Paul and Silas - it doesn’t matter. What it does say is, “the prisoners were listening to them”. It also says that when all the cell doors were opened, they didn’t go anywhere. They were no longer captive-they were captivated!
The jailer was ready to take his life in fear, but Paul cried out, “Stop! Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” One can only speculate what was happening in the other cells as the prisoners listened to Paul and Silas singing hymns and praises to God. Could it be that all the doors were opened because the prisoners were listening? I believe the Bible points this out for a reason.
We don’t need a study in Greek to know that Paul and Silas caught the attention of the other prisoners, who were hanging on their every word.
I am encouraged by the fact that it didn’t matter that Paul and Silas were in the inner part of a prison. This is most likely where the worst of the worst prisoners were kept. The inner part of the prison, where any hope of escape is futile. It didn’t matter that the situation looked hopeless. It didn’t matter that their feet were locked in stocks... It just didn’t matter. What mattered was that, in the midst of what looked like a bad, bad situation, they began to sing praises to God, and those around them, the prisoners, listened!
We should always remember that someone is listening. In tough, seemingly hopeless situations, when our mouths open with hymns and praises to God (instead of murmuring and complaining), prison doors are opened. Not only the prison doors of our own lives are opened, but more importantly, for those around us.
So...who’s listening to you?