The Prayer does not ask that the sick be healed, but that they be tended. It does not request a physician but a shepherd. What we are asking, is that God will guide us into the blessings that sickness can provide.
Prayer in the Night
We do not simply have bodies, we are bodies. Pain, pleasure, trauma, and anguish are embodied states.
Rev. Warren invites us to see how the daily act of going to sleep is a spiritual practice of dying in Christ. The benefits of sleep come about when we surrender our own will, and the same is achieved in Jesus.
Everlasting God, you have ordained and constituted in a wonderful order the ministries of angels and mortals: Mercifully grant that, as your holy angels always serve and worship you in heaven, so by your appointment they may help and defend us here on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
When we pray for healing or redemption or peace or justice, we are praying for those who work – for scientists, doctors, poets, potters, researchers, retail clerks, farmers, politicians, and pilots – these actual and limited men and women through who God is bringing renewal.
“Our work – whether paid or not, drudgery or not, skilled or common – makes a difference. Done well, it adds truth, beauty, and goodness to the world.” Again, our work is part of God’s work.
When we watch, we need to open our mind’s eye to the divine reality that is within us and that surrounds us. We need to see the realm of the intangible, qualitative world of meaning, value, and higher purpose.
Watching is a craft to develop. To watch is to wait, patiently. Watching implies attention, yearning, and hope. If the fear in the night tells us that grace will not be enough, then in watching we must be attentive to the grace that is there.
During our discussions tonight on the absence of weekly liturgical prayer specifically for those who are mourning, we discussed the Mourner’s Kaddish which is said each week during a traditional Jewish prayer service. The prayer is as follows:
We ask God to keep watch with those who weep because we know the end. John gives us this vision of a transformed creation where the church is that beautiful, life-giving, at-one-ness with God. “Weeping may tarry for the night / but joy comes with the morning.” Ps. 30:5b.