Fr. Ben’s homily for Tuesday of the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I
Theme: THE POWER OF MIDNIGHT PRAYERS!
By: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
Homily for Tuesday September 7 2021
* Col 2 : 6 – 15, Lk 6 : 12 – 19.
We are told in today’s gospel that after the midnight prayer of Jesus, power came out from him and he chose his apostles (Power of inspiration) and he healed all the people who came around him (Power of healing). Permit me to say it emphatically today that a powerless Christian is a counterfeit Christian. Christ said : ‘These are the signs that will accompany those who believe in me…. 1. Power of Deliverance – They will cast out demons. 2. New Power of Speech – They will speak in new tongues. 3. Power of Invulnerability – Even if they drink deadly poison, it will not harm them. 4. Power of Healing – They pray for the sick and they will get well. If you have not experienced at least one of these Charismatic gifts as a believer then I am afraid something is still wrong with your Christian life.
Today’s 1st reading gives us a clear picture of the fullness of life we are supposed to enjoy in Christ; 1.The power of baptism and confirmation is supposed to circumcize us in Christ, bury us in Christ and make us dead to sin, Rom 6 : 11. At this level, sin now comes only as accidents in the life of a believer while the sacrament of reconciliation heals him /her and keeps him going. 2. The power of the Cross nails all principalities and powers, all elemental spirits governing the universe (the witchcraft and the occult), all family evil and environmental foundations and makes the believer live in dominion over them, Col 2 : 12. We must explore the power of the sacraments, sacramentals, power of the Psalms, the authority of the priesthood, the authority of fatherhood and motherhood, etc.
We are told in today’s gospel that the secret behind Christ’s power was that he continued in prayer all night to God. Friends, permit me to share with you the power of Midnight prayers. Night is a sacred time even in Igbo/African cosmology. Our people say ‘Abani di egwu’ – night is dangerous. It is the hour of the occult. Christ prayed at midnight before his baptism, temptations in the desert, before electing his apostles, before his passion at the garden of Gethsemane and before every major spiritual activity. Brother Newman Ezeigbo captioned one of his books ‘The battle of the midnight’. Every Christian must learn how to wrestle with the devil at the midnight. The Jews recognized about 4 watches of the night; 1. The 1st watch of the night is from 6 – 9pm. The 2nd watch of the night is from 9 – 12 midnight. The 3rd watch of the night is from 12 – 3am. While the 4th watch of the night is from 3 – 6am. As a believer and prayer warrior, you can’t afford to sleep all through the 4 watches of the night. You should offer some hour for prayer. At a stage in my priestly formation I had a terrible vocation crises that lasted for over 7 years that could have made me lose my vocation but my testimony is that I reclaimed my vocation in tears at midnight prayer.
If you want to realize the fullness of Christ’s power then you must form the habit of midnight or early morning prayer. St Paul recommended to the Ephesians : ‘Do not be tired staying awake at midnight to pray and remember to pray at all times in the spirit’, Eph 6 : 18. Learn to do 9 days midnight novena prayer whenever you have a major spiritual challenge.
You can also multiply it according to your strength and convenience. Take for example, a 54 days midnight novena is a Novena multiplied 6 times – It is a special type of novena that is very powerful because it is already accompanied by fasting since one of the best ways of fasting is fasting from sleep. People who have different kinds of demonic obsession have given testimonies of freedom and deliverance before they get half way into this kind of prayer using traditional prayers like the psalms, rosary, stations of the cross and praises.
May God bless you today!