Friday night was amazing! Just like the title suggests, we had a prayer and Bible reading all nighter with our senior high students! We started at 9pm and wrapped up ten hours later at 7am, with the students having come up with the ideas for the night ahead of time! We had 36 of us show up, a great turnout for the night, which was awesome to see – I love it when teens choose worship, prayer and scripture reading over going to the movies and parties!
We had a pattern for the evening; we all began together, spending the first hour or so reading through scripture out loud and praying together in the sanctuary. We had left our shoes at the door in a symbolic gesture to show that we were making this time and place a holy, sacred time. We also had a ‘distraction box’ at the door, something we could put both physical and symbolic distractions in. It was full of cell phones, iPods, portable video games, and notes with internal distractions written on them – as a symbolic way of giving them to God and not dwelling on them during the night.
After starting together, we split into groups of 3-5 people, for small group Bible reading and prayer. At around 1am, we regrouped for a large group time that lasted a little over two hours. We kicked it off with some worship, then spent a period of time in individual prayer working through the ACTS method (adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication). Two of the ways we did that was by having a confession station with flash paper that people could pray and write their confessions on the paper, then burn it with the candles present. We also had notes by the cross where we could write what we were thankful on and post them on or around the cross (we left those up for Sunday morning!). Then we got into the part of the night we were really looking forward to; praying over EVERYTHING. We prayed over the pews, the equipment, the offices, halls, instruments, walls, doors, EVERYTHING. And then marked them with post it notes – this church was covered with post its! Every pew had three to five notes on it, prayers for the people would be sitting there, worshiping there, etc. We also wrote out prayers to all the different staff members, from the custodial staff to the senior pastor.
We followed that time with some more small group segments before regrouping again for the last 45 minutes of the night to finish together. It really was an amazing time, and it was so much fun to see all the different places that students had prayed!