Why our men have been praying all night
Can men get passionate about prayer? Nick Whittome, associate pastor at Birmingham City Church (BCC) and part of the wider MPower forum, certainly thinks so.
God had been stirring something in me about prayer for a while. It started with a realisation from Matthew 14:22-25 that Jesus seemed to be arriving at the same destination as the disciples but in a much better way. I mean, honestly, which of the two scenarios below would you pick?
I was captivated by the passion and eloquence of James Aladiran as he spoke on prayer at Elim’s Leadership Summit in 2017. The oil that the wise virgins had brought with them (Matthew 25:1-13) represents the presence of God for us as individuals from our time spent in the secret place.
As a part of his message, James asked whether anyone had recently prayed all night. One solitary voice from among what must have been at least 1,500 people called out, “I have.” I then felt internally very convicted about never having prayed all night myself.
Once I got back to church after the summit, I talked to the other two guys who lead BCC’s men’s ministry, Dami and Mazu, about my growing wish to pray a whole lot more and suggested we try praying all night. They were totally up for it, and so we trialled it in July. We have now been meeting on the first Friday of every month between 10pm and 6am since September, and it has become a fixture in our men’s ministry.
Here’s what we do. We advertise on the Stronger Men section of our website, we text it out and we also communicate about the meeting on our Stronger Men WhatsApp group.
It is open for men to pick to pray all night, of course, or for just part of the night – whatever they can manage. We mention that we are praying on BCC’s social media, and also our own social media, and ask people to send in prayer requests, which we pray for between us.
We have a relaxed and informal structure to the prayer night. We walk about a lot, we sometimes all pray together at once or sometimes one of us takes a bit of a lead.
We also have times during the night where we worship along with an iPod or watch a YouTube video about prayer or a message relevant to what we are praying for. The time just seems to fly past. Every time we have met, it has had a different ‘feel’ to it, but each time we’ve really been able to press into God’s presence.
There is something appealing to men about praying all night. It has really helped our men have something ambitious to go for, that is totally theirs. Every man who has come, for a part or all of the night, has come away saying it was a brilliant thing to do.
My prayer throughout 2018 is that more of the men across the Movement will catch the vision to grow in the adventure of prayer, and feedback the stories that will surely follow.
“I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer without anger or disputing,” (1 Tim 2:8).
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