1. The Prayer and Worship Vigil of Paul and Silas
In the vigil that Paul and Silas were compelled to hold in the Philippian jail, they “prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them” (Acts 16:25). They worshipped, not silently; and they proceeded into prayers, not quietly. That vigil was so impactful that the city never remained the same after it. Paul and Silas seemed to have been persuaded that the power of night would not put out the fire on their altar, for it is said in Leviticus 6:9, which seems to be the spiritual principle for vigils,
Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering: It is the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it.
2. The Fasting, Home Vigil of David
Like Jesus’ Transfiguration Mount vigil, fasting sometimes reinforces prayers vigils. David offers an example:
David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth (2 Samuel 12:16).
This was another vigil with a specific agenda: “the child.” The vigil does not appear to have been as noisy as that of Paul and Silas. King David was at home in his palace-chamber, not at the Temple or on a mountain. Every vigil does not have to be on a mountain, and kings also may hold their vigils. It says that he “lay all night upon the earth.” He may have been sobbing; his prayer certainly not as loud as the prisoners had dared to do at Philippi. His voice may have been low, yet the moment was deep. All vigils do not have to be loud to be effective.
The Preacher's diary.
Culled from one of our little books, Why Vigils?