Prayer offered up at night possesses a great power, more than the prayer of daytime...Isaac the Syrian
A nightly nighttime rendezvous with God in silence can and will become habit forming. The desire to meet the Lord in the silent darkness of the night will grow to the point that you will eventually find yourself carefully arranging your daily schedule so that you retire for the evening rest at the same time each night or as close to it as is possible. You will go about organizing your daytime schedule so that you will not be cheated out of your time with the Lord.
You may find yourself needing less sleep. A number of the saints slept very little, but prayed incessantly. Certainly, the time for getting up for the regular night vigil will become easier as you intensify the practice. The alarm clock won’t be necessary. Just a word said to your Guardian Angel will suffice. There can be times when remaining awake might be challenging. This becomes much less of a challenge as time progresses. A slight rocking motion of the head or body can help one stay awake. Or you can change to another prayer format or change prayer posture.
As you gain more experience in getting out of bed and going to the place of prayer, you will notice your body’s temperature rising before even getting up, possibly to the point of sweating. This can aid a person in realizing the call to prayer has occurred, just as in the final minutes of prayer, you will notice the body cooling down, as it readies itself for sleep once again.
The nighttime silence is a powerful, silent elixir for the spirit. It might even be intoxicating. It also is a profound weapon against Satan and his ilk.
“Prayer offered up at night possesses a great power, more than the prayer of daytime. Therefore all the righteous prayed during the night, while combating the heaviness of the body and the sweetness of sleep and repelling corporeal nature….There is nothing even Satan fears so much as prayer that is offered during the vigilance at night…For this reason the devil smites them with violent warfare, in order to hinder them, if possible from this work [as was the case with Anthony the great, Blessed Paul, Arsenius, and other Desert Fathers]….But those who have resisted his wicked stratagems even a little, who have tasted the gifts of God that are granted during vigil, and who have experienced in themselves the magnitude of God’s help that is always nigh to them, utterly disdain him and all his devices….Which of the solitaries, through possessing all the virtues together, could neglect this work, and not be reckoned to be idle without it? For night vigil is the light of the thinking, and by it the understanding is exalted, the thought is collected, and the mind takes flight and gazes at spiritual things and by prayer is rejuvenated and shines brilliantly1.”
When keeping vigil, especially the 3rd watch – midnight to three AM – if you ate your last meal around 6:00PM, you have a head start on a good 14 to 16 hour intermittent fast. If you are fasting on the days prescribed by the Didache, Wednesdays and Fridays, and are keeping the third watch, a 24hour fast is well within reach.
If you are concerned about a rapacious appetite while breaking the fast, be assured that it is not an abnormal experience. But what scientists have found out is that most people only eat an additional 20% more calories than they would have had they not fasted.
Fasting teaches many things including the ability to tolerate a little suffering in the form of hunger pangs. What a delight to offer these sufferings in union with Christ’s sufferings. These small pains make us aware of the poverty of our existence without God, and certainly more aware of the sufferings of the poor.
All of this should lead us to a simpler lifestyle. It reduces our desire for needless consumption of goods and food. Gospel simplicity is one of the frequent topics of our Blessed Lord. The warnings to the rich should be sufficient.
Peace be with you.
1 From the Ascetical Homilies by Isaac the Syrian, ca 700, Feast Jan. 28. Quoted by Robert Cardinal Sarah in his book, The Power Of Silence Against The Dictatorship Of Noise.
Michael the Archangel Prayer Warrior’s Preamble
“Jesus seems to…announce a mysterious law of the world of prayer, namely, that God, by His own decree, has somehow placed His power in the hands of persons who intercede, in such a way that unless they intercede His power is withheld.
This is the great attraction of the prayer of intercession: that as you practice it you get a sense of the tremendous power there is in prayer and having sensed this power, you will never give up prayer.” P.129, Fr. Anthony de Mello, Sadhana, A Way to God.
As we explore the art of prayer and examine our role in the spiritual life, we uncover a myriad of Christians who are hungering to know about that agency which foments and creates evil. Just as we have no ability to do good without the Holy Spirit as guide, instigator, and inventor, we have no power to create and instigate evil. Evil is a creative, negative option allowed by God so that we can have a freedom of choice and not be slaves (Jn 15:15). "We must realize that we face an efficiency that is evil in itself; an existing evil, an evil that is a person; an evil that we cannot classify as a corruption of goodness. We are speaking of an affirmation of evil, and if this does not frighten us, it should."
The Demonic – November 15, 1972 – Pope Paul VI from a General Audience in Italian.
The power of this prayer movement will be based on the power of the name of Jesus with particular emphasis on the Jesus Prayer and The Holy Rosary. The Scripture verse contained in Mathew, Chapter 6, verse 6 is what points to the pattern of prayer that Jesus Himself taught. We can call it the Route 66 method - solitary prayer.
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Mt 6:6
The next methodology is the A.S.K. formula or the Route 77 method found in Mathew’s Gospel, Chapter 7, verse 7 - Ask, Seek, Knock.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Mt 7:7
The power in the name of Jesus is referenced by Jesus in Mark.
In My Name you will... Mk 16:17
And again in John…
You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. Jn 14:14
And again in John…
… so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. John 15:16b
We can call these coordinates, latitude and longitude, if you will. It's where a person should want to be in their prayer mentality
But it is in our expanded friendship with God that we find our true relationship.
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. Jn 15:15
Michael the Archangel Prayer Warriors
And so, the institution of Michael, the Archangel Prayer Warriors came about because so many of the faithful were lacking in spiritual direction particularly with regard to prayer, and there was/is this necessity to intensify the power of prayer against Satan and his minions.
Actually, we've had a group in the prison for a while, and with the advent of our O.S.M.B.'s ([Order of St. Moses the Black] - our prison ministry is under his patronage) we had gained some experience with both Catholics and Non-Catholics. The great spiritual monastic disciplines of Silence, Solitude, Simplicity, and Service are still a necessity. These will still be and are still called for because they are not just monastic but are made for spiritual warriors, Christian discipleship and are good for our parish in its renewal program because they are Gospel disciplines.
You will undoubtedly notice that the term "Saint" is missing from the title of our group. This makes it approachable for Christians of all denominations.
At this time, there are no proposed meetings, although we may meet no more than twice yearly should it be called for. We all have enough things to do or already have made commitments toward many other ministries, so we will not waste time in hearings or committees. (I am convinced that Hell is one unending committee meeting full of nothing but lies and darkness). Most of our spiritual must encouragement come from our frequent reception of the sacraments, our daily prayer life, our families, loved ones, close friends, and parishioners who are also prayer warriors.
As an aside, one of the reasons the Hebrew Scriptures mandated the people’s participation in frequent assemblies and the Church has mandated the same thing in our Sunday worship services (Mass) under penalty of serious sin, is because of something we’ve talked about in some of our homilies, It is called “interpersonal neurobiology”. It is essentially group therapy that occurs just by all of us being together on one place for a particular purpose. This “we are the clay; You are the Potter” imagery that is found in the Hebrew Scriptures has a physiological basis called neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity means our brains are rewired and a great healing is taking place slowly as we continue to associate ourselves with other healing sinners. This is a complex subject and I will delve into it in greater detail in subsequent writings. Meantime, there are some very good lectures on YouTube presented by some fine psychiatrists and other medical people on this subject should you wish to learn more. Start by looking for lectures on depression, but a better place to start might be PTSD,
I am also looking at a blog possibility. I have some volunteers who would set it up, but we'll need some folks to help maintain it. It could possibly take the place of any need for meetings.
Now what does it take to become a prayer warrior?
You must be a Christian or have the desire to explore Christianity with, hopefully, a desire to one day become a Christian.
You must set aside one hour of time each day for personal and intercessory prayer. For Catholics, this does not include the daily attendance at Mass; that is extra, if you wish to do this. This spend[ing] one hour with Me (Jesus) Mark 14: 37c is extra and of the highest importance. This our private prayer time with the Lord. We can call it “The Route 66 Rule” Matt 6:6.
Think of some of the lyrics to the song; it’s our play date with the Lord. That’s right. The discipline of silence and solitude coupled with our prayer, is the ground (playground) of our love affair with the Lord which will become much deeper, pleasureable, and attractive as all of us progress with more experience. It can and will become the a premier desire of everything you do because you now have this developed friendship Ps 25: 14 with the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Mary and Joseph – two Trinities joined together with Christ as the center, like the image on a 5 die:
. . Father and Spirit (Holy Divine Family)
. . Son (Divine and Human)
. . Mary and Joseph (Holy Human Family)
You can see the two Trinities pointing to each other through the Son, and as you begin spending more time in this “other world”, you realize that you’re not praying alone but in conference with these persons who are also in this world with you although not necessarily perceptible.
This is about prayer and spiritual warfare, and not just talking about prayer, which can be highly narcotizing as can be a lot of committee work. We must be about the practice of prayer which entails the discipline of setting aside time each day for this spiritual ritual.
Some of you may remember this story I told about myself in some of my homilies many moons ago, but it bears repeating: I was a newly ordained deacon who was attending an Arch-Diocesan Deacon conference in Cave City, Ky. It was three days long, and I was privileged to attend a conference by Bishop Daniel Buechlein, O.S.B., who was, then, Bishop of Memphis. At the end of his talk which was on the Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours), he said that the Church's main mission was prayer. Well, being a young, newly ordained deacon with all this sophisticated theology and certainly some spiritual snobbery bouncing around in my head I was completely blown away and came back to St. Joseph in somewhat of a quandary. The next day I ran up to Fr. John Cain (Pastor of St. Joseph and my third auxiliary spiritual director; my second auxiliary was Fr. Bill Flemming) and asked him like some little kid if what the bishop had said. Was the Church’s main ministry…prayer? He said it was. I was still blown away after having spent some years studying Scripture, Cannon Law, and much theology. Why...why hadn't we spent more time praying and studying Spiritual Theology? I had already taken it upon myself to do just that, even during formation as a deacon, but it would still be years later before I would embark on the study of Angelology and Demonology which was never covered in my classes, and apparently is not covered well, if at all, in many seminaries according to Fr. Gabriele Amorth in both his books.
One more thing, the Church in its revision of the Liturgy of the Hours after Vatican II and maybe before that - I haven't investigated this - stopped praying certain, what are called, pejorative Psalms and portions of other Psalms as well, which I am convinced was and is a serious mistake just as it was a short-sighted action to shorten the Rite of Minor Exorcism in the Rite of Infant Baptism (see Paul VI’s homily, Nov 15, 1972). I think there's a price being paid because of this. I will be covering this at a later time, but we, as spiritual warfare specialists, will use them in our arsenal.
This censorship and fear of offending people has shown itself in homilies where there has been a failure to talk about sin, to name the sin, and what we as a people of God should be doing about it both as individuals and as corporate members of the Church Militant. Many clerics fear loss of church attendance and a similar revenue loss also. Yes, political correctness is a Church disease also.
Church attendance is down, and many are going to churches where they can and will hear nice sermons which may titillate the ears - Gospels of prosperity so to speak. Nothing required on the part of the participant - just show up. Or more importantly send us as much money as you can. But don’t pay any mind to the opulent lifestyle of the preacher
It is highly desirable to have a plethora of troops in spiritual warfare since so many of the cloistered contemplative vocations have shrunken. We have a loss of prayer warriors on the front lines.
All Scripture quotes are from New International Version