It begins with the Agpeya prayer in which the gospel of the meeting with the virgins who lit their lamps (Mat 25:1-13) is read, then the gospel of repentance out of love for Christ, offering feelings of their love with the fragrant oil which the woman poured (Luke 7:36-50). Then it concludes the appointed times of the Lord for the little flock separated from the world whom the Lord became their share (Luke 12:32-46).
“Arise, O you sons of light”:
The Midnight Praise begins with the hymn ten theenou, “Arise, O you sons of light so we may praise the Lord of powers.” Here the mystery of watchfulness is disclosed. Watchfulness is standing in the light of Christ in order to praise the Lord of powers, because in His light, we shall see light. In the light of Christ, Christ’s person is revealed to us, so we praise Him. Thus, the Lord Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12) “who has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2Cor 4:6). And concerning this the Apostle goes on saying, “You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of the darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober…But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation (1Thess 5:4-8).
Indeed, those who have the right to rise with the sons of light are those who shine their lamps. Because of this, this hymn is considered permission for the possessors of the shining lamps to enter the wedding with the bridegroom when the cry comes, “Behold the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him.” Because of this, the Apostle says, “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light” (Eph 5:14).
The Word “Watch”:
It is one of the most repeated words in the Bible. Watchfulness is spiritual gratification. It is difficult to become accustomed to it devoid of the church praises, for watchfulness in praise and glorification with the saints is practicing being with God. It is preparation for an everlasting meeting with the heavenly bridegroom. Watchfulness, in the beginning, is heavy work. It ends with the love of Christ and His grace leading to a customary and delightful desire which the person seeks out with diligence.