In October 1989, East Germany 'celebrated' its 40th birthday. Russian president Mikhail Gorbachev was in Berlin and he seemed to signal a new era. He even went outside and greeted protesters personally. Any hope of a softening from the government was dashed, however, when state police arrested those same protestors that night. The Gethsemane Church in Berlin decided to open its doors for a prayer vigil. Every night after that, people gathered to light candles and pray for freedom. On November 9, the Berlin Wall came down.
I sat in the same church the other night.* A member of the congregation was arrested while in Turkey in July. Repeated attempts to get more information have been blocked and there seems to be little they can do. So they decided to hold prayer vigils again. Every night since July, the community is invited to stop what they are doing for 20-30 minutes, light a candle and say a prayer. They plan to meet for prayer until he is released. I don’t speak a word of German, but we all understood one another. I trust God was able to translate the prayers whether they were in English or German.
New Hope is starting a 24-hour Prayer Vigil from Friday (10/27) noon to noon on Saturday. The Prayer Vigil is meant to be a season of prayer to attune us to what God wants to do in and through our lives. Different stations will be set up for people to pray. The hope is for have people praying for an hour in the sanctuary for all 24 hours (Session and Deacons have already signed up for the toughest times.) Even if you haven’t signed up yet, I hope you’ll find some time to come down.