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Silent Siege

September 9, 2008

As a NightWatch community, we are taking yet another step in consecrating our time of prayer before the Lord.

A year and a half ago, we did a thing that we called 90 Days of Consecration. The like-mindedness and eager participation of the entire NightWatch community, when our leadership called us to this consecration, was astonishing. And the 90 days had a profound, lasting impact on our community.

As a part of the 90 days of consecration, we removed all talking from the prayer room, with the exception of communication necessarily to run the prayer meeting.

Around the clock at IHOP, there is a general rule of limiting conversations to 30 seconds. While it’s a nice idea, these typically turn into a string of “30-second” conversations and you will see a lot of talking in the prayer room. (And it really is amazing how distracting a 30-second conversation can really be.)

After the 90 days had ended, we decided to permanently institute the no-talking rule. The truth was, we really liked what it did to the feel of the NightWatch. I truly am stunned by what this did to create a more sacred place for prayer… further enabling us to do what we are here to do.

For the next two months, we have been invited to a voluntary “Silent Siege”. From midnight to 6 AM, they have encouraged us to make it a time of silence, before the Lord. We still sing and pray in the prayer room, and communication necessary to lead the meeting will still happen. But what we are now working to eliminate are the conversations just outside of the prayer room, in the lobby, bathroom, and halls (and the groups of people that tend to gather in front of the building).

There are a lot of little phrases that we are holding as somewhat of a banner over this new consecration, but one of the simplest and clearest of them is: “Silent night, holy night.”

I believe that this consecration (or fast, which you could call it) is going to be a really significant season for our NightWatch community. As we consecrate our time of standing on the wall (all NightWatch staff are asked to keep 36 of their 48 service and prayer hours between midnight to 6 AM, 6 nights a week) we are focusing in on praying for the upcoming elections and the ending of abortion, among other things. (I am perhaps too tired right now to be blogging well about what it is that we are doing.)

When Stuart brought the idea before us, he asked those who wanted to commit to this silent siege to stand up. Virtually everyone in the room was standing. Again, I am overwhelmingly encouraged. We really do go further when we are acting as a community. Unity and like-mindedness are priceless.

The invitation came on Saturday night and we began the Silent Siege tonight. My general reaction to the change: this is a really good thing. I am excited and really do have a lot of anticipation concerning the next several weeks. Specific reaction to one aspect of the experience: riding in the car (from one prayer room to the other) with your boyfriend and a friend IN TOTAL SILENCE is VERY interesting.

Personally, I am both excited and frightened, as we head into this. On one hand, I’m borderline giddy, on the other, I’m terrified. I cannot argue that this thing is not divinely orchestrated. But that is not purely a comforting thought at this moment.

But THAT is a subject for another post.

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One comment

  1. Somehow I find this one especially resonant, cool, exciting. Noise is so much a part of the charismaticky culture and of IHOP in particular, for better and for worse. And Silence is such a deep and significant strain in the contemplative tradition.

    Apart from that sterile-sounding comment, Silence–which is such a rare, rare thing, not only in the charismatic subculture but in the larger, loud culture around us–has almost always been a place of encounter for me.

    I’m curious whether there will be (or have maybe already been) times of complete silence within the prayer room itself. No music. Nothing.



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