24/7 prayer means just that, and so each night there has been a night crew, worshiping and praying until dawn, when the 6:00 crew (which may only be one person) arrives.
Last night I joined the night crew. After a few hours just quietly praying to ourselves, reading, writing, or strumming the guitar, we headed out to walk the streets of Valletta, praying as we went—one way to stay awake!
First stop: the park overlooking Fort St. Elmo, site of a 15th C. watchtower and 16th C. fortress, famous for withstanding the invading Turks for one month in 1551. Eventually all were massacred in The Great Seige. In 1565 the Turks attempted to take the entire archipelago and use it as a base to penetrate Europe—48,000 Turks against 8,000.
Epic Fail, for the Turks.
The Maltese fought off the invaders long enough for reinforcements to arrive from Sicily. Together, they expelled the Turks and forced them to withdraw. Malta was saved, and Europe too.
Next stop: the port. We prayed for the drugs and human trafficking which were surely rampant here. An extraordinarily beautiful site at night, with amber lights illuminating the fortressed walls and city, reflecting off the black water, with boats in the shipyards, and houses huddled densely on the opposite shore.
We walked along the bay praying our way over to the Seige Bell Tower, erected in 1992 to commemorate the award of the George Cross to Malta, to honor over 7000 Service Personnel and Civilians who gave their lives during the Siege of Malta, 1940 - 1943. We took communion at its base, continuing to pray while our dancers broke out swing flags --introduced to us by one of our dancers, from IHOP. They snapped authoritatively in the wind while we danced, and added a colorful splash of color in the dark night.
Climbing up then to the bell, we stood under its expanse, marveling. The city was quiet, except for the occasional rowdy car full of partiers, the barking dog (gotta have the barking dog) and a street chase after a taxi. The views, even in the dark, were spectacular.
Next stop: Freedom Square, in front of the Parliament, where the dancers danced in the dawn with Misty Edwards "Awaken the Dawn."
We prayed for government, financial systems, and the diplomats and heads of state that come and go from these buildings. We left via Merchants Street, where the enormous statues of a number of Catholic saints were arrayed under beautiful heraldic banners and flags. It was an eerie site; we stopped and prayed in their midst for the True God to be heralded into Malta, and blessed the night workers taking down some for repair.
We left through the City Gate—under restoration—and prayed for the spiritual restoration of the city. And then we headed back to the prayer house.
We had two hours to go before the first bus back to Siggiewi, where we are staying; we crashed on the floor or on one of the two beds upstairs. Susan rounded us up at the appointed hour, and off we stumbled. On the way, we passed Ab (pronounced Up!) from Holland, on his way to relieve Graham, holding the fort at the prayer house. If Graham hurried, he could make the bus too…and yes, up he trotted in time, and we set off together, to crash into our real beds, knowing nothing for the next several hours, in spite of the rest of our group of 18 coming and going for breakfast and early shifts and other assorted activities.