Tuesday, November 01, 2016


Candlelight Vigil - Photo: Pixabay.com
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Luke 6:1-16

“Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles.” Luke 6:12,13

Yesterday I mentioned the vigil that some churches hold on the evening before this day, All Saints Day (called an All Saints Vigil). Today we see Jesus keeping vigil.

[Vigil: wakefulness maintained for any reason during the normal hours for sleeping; a watch or period of watchful attention maintained at night or other time; a devotional watching or keeping awake, during the customary hours of sleep.]

The instances in the Bible of people keeping vigil illustrate some of the times we might be prompted to keep vigil ourselves.

  • When we’re facing something we fear.
Jacob was awake and alone all night before he was going to meet Esau again. This was many years after Esau had threatened to kill him. Was he still holding murder in his heart? Then Jacob wasn’t alone any more - Genesis 32:24.

  • When we’re spiritually troubled.
Samuel was “grieved” and “cried to the Lord all night” after God told him that He had rejected Saul (1 Samuel 15:11).

  • Just because…
Maybe praise and prayer fills our minds all day and wakes us at night as it does the psalmist in Psalm 55:17 and Psalm 119:62. I like to think, too, that when we are wakeful for no particular reason—just can’t sleep— that can be interpreted as an invitation to prayer—a mini-vigil you might say.

  • When we’re about to make an important decision.
Choosing twelve disciples from His larger number of followers seems to be what preoccupied Jesus during His vigil in our reading - Luke 6:2,13.

  • When we’re in trouble.
Paul and Silas in jail in Philippi were still praying and singing at midnight when an earthquake set them free - Acts 16:25,26.

  • When someone else is in trouble.
Jesus begged the disciples to keep vigil with Him on the night before His arrest. We all know that sad story of how the disciples couldn’t stay awake (Matthew 26:36-46).

So, next time we’re on the eve of something fearful, or a big decision, or  are burdened by our own or someone's problem, or just can’t sleep, let’s consider spending those wakeful night hours in prayerful vigil.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, help me to see night wakefulness as an invitation to keep vigil. Amen.

MORE: All Saints' Day

Today the church celebrates All Saints' Day .

The Christian Almanac says about this day: "In the earliest years of the church, so many martyrs died for their faith, Christians set aside special days to honor them.  ... Originally celebrated on May 1, the festival in commemoration of all the saints was eventually moved to November by Pope Gregory IV as a time of remembrance of all those who had suffered persecution for their faith" - The Christian Almanac, p. 642.

The liturgy for this day begins with this prayer:
"Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen."
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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