Friday night I participated in a Night of Prayer at my church. We started at 10pm and finished up at 6am this morning. It is hard to decide to sacrifice sleep in this busy world, to choose to pray through the night instead of sleeping. I have never done anything like it. The last time I went a night without sleep was the day before my senior comp was due in college (10 years ago)!! One of the remarkable things about last night is--I did not feet tired. The following day, I slept about 2 1/2 hours when I went home, then spent the rest of the day with my family. It brings new meaning to Psalm 63, "My soul finds rest in God alone." By devoting that time to him, He gave me what I needed to get through the next day. Many things get in the way of giving him our time, but I encourage you, even if you cannot do it over night--take some time to get alone with the LORD. And I don't mean the 15-30 minutes that you take each day for devotions, I'm talking hours with Him. You will not regret it! I know that I don't and I look forward to it again.
This is how our Night of Prayer worked:
We started with worship. We were encouraged to sit, stand, kneel, lie down, raise our arms, dance...whatever we felt led. Music is powerful, and God used it to focus my heart and mind on Him. It was a beautiful time, and the Lord was with us.
There was an optional time of instruction on how to pray. There was also a table with resources: prayer guides, books on prayer, journals and guides to devotional and prayer journaling.
There were individual prayer rooms designated for private prayer. A place to still, to speak out loud to the Lord, to journal, to read His word, etc--all just between you and our Father.
There were "stations" set up throughout the church for different aspects of prayer. These included Thanksgiving, Confession, Praying the Promises of God, Soaking up the Psalms, Praying the Names of God, and supplication rooms: request room, prayer for our church, prayer for our community, prayer for children and families, prayer for youth, and prayer for missionaries and people groups. Each room had handouts with suggestions. These rooms were open for us to move around on our own as we felt lead.
- In the confession room, "Take it to the Cross," we were encouraged to write out our sins and burdens on a tissue and dip it in a basin of water situated at the foot of a cross. Once in the water, the writing disappears, just as Christ's sacrifice erases our sins when we repent! There was music playing in the background, and it was a wonderful thing to watch and know that I am forgiven.
- The thanksgiving room had paper all over the walls for us to write things we were thankful for, categories included God's creation, His provisions, His promises, our problems, for people, and for answered prayers. You walked in and were surrounded by things for which to thank Our Lord.
- To Pray the Names of God, art supplies were provided and a list of many of the names of Jesus. We were encouraged to create a picture, painting, drawing symbolizing who He is to us: King of Kings, Healer, Beginning and End, the I AM. What a beautiful and unique way to give Him praise.
- To pray for our community, we were encouraged to highlight the the maps of the areas where we were committing to lift to God in prayer.
- In the request room, we could leave a personal prayer request or write encouragements and scripture on another's card, helping lower their burdens through the roof to Jesus.
- Praying God's Promises room gave us a list of Scriptural promises to claim.
- In Soak in the Psalms, an audio of the psalms being read was played and we were encouraged to listen, pray, and or journal as the words washed over us.
- The nursery was set up to pray for children and families, and we were given a list of 40 ways to pray for our kids.
- The youth room was open for prayer for the teens.
- A room with pictures of our pastoral staff was set up to pray for them and the church.
Finally, at 5:15 the remaining women gathered together in the sanctuary for more praise and worship. The music was especially moving after spending the entire night wrapped in His Presence. When we finally left, after clean up He gifted us with a glorious sunrise...Thank you Jesus!
Heavenly Father, Thank you! For such a glorious experience. For giving us a night to bask in You. I pray that you would lead others to seek such an experience. Lord, I want them to see You and feel You and know You better. I ask that you would give me gentle reminders when I start to drift, that I may stay close to You--always aware of You! Lord, "I want to burn with passion over You!" I thank You and praise You for loving and cherishing me! Help me show others Your love. Let me reflect Your glory. Each day I want less of me and more of You! You are an Awesome God, Lord, I love you!!
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