Why am I going to bed at 10:30 p.m., only to get up at 11:45 p.m. for a two-hour time of prayer? These were my thoughts as I joined six friends in getting into our sleeping bags on a hard church basement floor.
The others didn’t share my reservations, I suppose, although they were as tired as I was. These friends are Korean Christian Reformed Church pastors, and prayer seems to be part of the Korean spiritual DNA. The idea of a late-night prayer vigil was not so strange to them.
We were in Canterbury, England, participating in an event called “UK Prayer Mission 2014”—one of 30 teams, numbering 450 people in all, gathered in 30 different communities across England to pray for revival.
As seven CRC pastors, we were among the few participants from America. Most were from Korea, praying for their spiritual grandmother, Great Britain, which once sent many missionaries abroad.
Midnight seemed to me an inconvenient and unconventional time for two hours of prayer. Wouldn’t sleeping on a hard church floor be enough to show my devotion?
But I remembered times in my life when it seemed the night was just starting at midnight: those wonderful late-night hours with the one who became my wife; the nights when my children, now adults, faced adolescent challenges and temptations; the numerous times as a pastor when I would leave the house at midnight to come alongside a parishioner or a friend in crisis.
Could I reframe this midnight call? Could I discover in the dark hours of night a love for God similar to my love for my wife, my children, and God’s people? Could I express a passion for the people of the UK through two hours of midnight prayer?
Rather than tell you about it, I invite you to consider the challenge yourself. Find something worth praying for, and find some people—including perhaps a Korean companion—who believe in a God who answers prayer. And plan a midnight prayer vigil.