A Midnight ‘Call to Prayer’

Last night Jonathan Oloyede, a Nigerian pastor passionate about prayer asked every one in the Meeting Place (at New Wine, Newark) to take out our phones and set an alarm to 12 noon to act as a daily reminder to pray.

About half the audience complied, some didn’t and the rest were heard to say ‘I don’t know how to do that on my phone’.

I didn’t have my (new) phone with me so I didn’t set this alarm until I went to bed… at 11:17pm.

Setting my first ever alarm at this time of night was probably my first mistake.

Maybe my second mistake was muddling up ‘am’ and ‘pm’ and even having an internal dialogue with myself along the lines of ‘wouldn’t it be awful to set this for 12 midnight not 12 noon!

My third mistake was failing to remember that I had no idea how to turn an alarm off.

By now, you are probably ahead of me on this story…. 40 minutes later, I am sound asleep and at 12 midnight precisely my phone starts screeching like some demented bird: ‘wake up! wake up! wake up!’

Being roused from a deep sleep didn’t exactly enhance my already very limited technical abilities.

Could I turn the wretched thing off? Could I heck!

I pressed the main ‘OFF’ button – it didn’t work.

I pressed the volume knobs – they didn’t work.

I retraced my steps to the ‘set alarm’ process and found NO ‘turn off alarm’ button.

All this in a swearing, sweating heap, with a torch under my duvet trying to stop the whole campsite being woken by my phone. Heart-pounding and hyper-ventilating, I hissed at it, I hit it. I even put it under the pillow and sat on it before remembering that electronic gadgets don’t require oxygen.

All the time I was convinced I was waking the whole campsite.


I surveyed my options:

1. Wake my boss, the vicar, in the caravan next door, shove a screeching phone in his face and ask him to deal with it? Mmm, possibly a sackable offence

2.Remove the battery? I don’t know how to do that

3. Run away into the night wearing only my nightie clutching my screeching phone…. (this was looking like my best option)

when FINALLY, FINALLY, the mysteries of a drop down menu revealed an ‘OFF’ button and the screeching bird was silenced.


My heart rate took about an hour to return to normal.

So that was my midnight ‘call to prayer’. Did I pray? You bet I did but not probably in the way the nice Nigerian pastor expected me to.

Let’s just say it was not my finest hour.

So how am I going to remember to pray from now on? Well, quite frankly, I’d sooner tie in a knot in my knickers than set an alarm on my phone… there’s got to be a better way

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