Over the years, we’ve heard countless stories of people all over the world who actively choose to encounter God in a middle-of-the-night slot in their community 24-7 Prayer room.
This story is from Robyn, who shares the beauty and intimacy experienced in her church at 2am…
It was 2am. The inside of our church was very dark, but in front of the altar, a myriad of small candles burned. That was my doing. I had lit the tea lights as I prayed for people who longed for God’s healing.
It was the last week of June, and with fifteen months of pandemic behind us there was no shortage of requests for prayer. As I moved to the next prayer station, my eyes were drawn to the candlelight catching on the gold threads in the altar cloth.
I felt a stirring in my heart: it was so good to be back in my church again.
When we had decided to embark on an entire week of around the clock, 24-7 prayer, I knew lots of people would snag the morning and after work timeslots. The digital signup sheet made the event easy to organise, but a couple of the middle of the night slots were empty. I looked at them and thought: ‘I bet those slots are waiting for me.’
As a mother of four, I am well acquainted with getting up in the night to pray. Of course, most of my midnight prayers have been along the lines of “Oh no! I hear someone vomiting – please Jesus, let it not be all over her good quilt; let not the entire house get it!” But this was totally different. It wasn’t the desperate prayer of a parent longing for sleep. This was an entire hour to cry out to God with whatever was on my heart.
Our church just had this sense that God wanted us to pray – really, seriously, pray. Jesus was knocking at the door. God was calling us to remember that He is real and re-establish Jesus as our foundation.
Volunteers had filled the sanctuary with prayer stations. My eyes moved around the beloved space. A big wooden cross and a large bowl of water had been placed right in the middle of the aisle. At that station we were invited to pray for forgiveness. I wrote my sins on a small piece of dissolving paper. As soon as the paper touched the water in the bowl it disappeared into nothing. That was where I had started.
Then, I prayed for our city and marked my prayers on the big Edmonton map with tiny pins. I prayed for friends to find God and wrote their names on green sticky-note leaves and added them to the huge tree painted onto a window. I prayed for other churches in our diocese and our new Bishop just elected a few days before.
Then, I sat a long time on the floor beside the indigenous star blanket and prayed through a Psalm of repentance and mourning. My eyes roamed over all the other prayer stations. I had thought praying for an hour would be hard, but I was astonished to realise there was no way I’d get through even half of the stations before my hour was up.
I hadn’t realised how easy this would be, or how much I needed it.
Yes, the church was dark, but it was like the darkness of the clouds before a soaking rain. I felt like God’s hands were above me, brimming with blessing and at any moment I would feel the first droplet fall. I didn’t know precisely why God was calling us to pray, but I knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.