Prayer in the Night – An Introduction

Merry Christmas –

Please remember that we are not meeting this evening. We will begin our new year together on  January 10 with the Rev. Tish Harrison Warren’s book Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep. (This book is currently the #1 book on Amazon for “Anglican Christianity.”) We will be reading her book through Epiphany and Lent. If you need a copy of the book, please let me know. (Rev. Warren’s New Year’s Day column “Soul Resolutions for the New Year” is HERE.)

Everyone has experienced those times in their life when God appears to be absent. The psalms speak of God hiding his face. Ps. 13:1, 44:24, 102:2. The psalmist cries out to God because he feels that in his distress, God has forgotten him. And it is Jesus himself who cries out the opening verse from Psalm 22 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matt. 27:46. This is the dark night of the soul. A darkness that each of us has experienced.

In her book, Rev. Warren writes from her own first-person encounter with this darkness and how the final prayer of Compline (see below) helped her during her dark time. She takes us through this prayer as a way to speak to God into the darkness and as a way to see the world around us more clearly and to appreciate the beauty that remains even within the brokenness of our lives.

The book seeks to guide us into a very heart-centered experiential contemplation of our relationship with God, even when it seems that God may be absent. As she works her way through the prayer, Rev. Warren does not try to resolve our questions or give easy answers or explanations. Rather, she simply reminds us we are loved by a Savior who has already resolved to make all things new. As she writes: “In the end, darkness is not explained; it’s defeated.”

We would love for you to join us next Tuesday as we begin this study. I think that anyone can relate to the issues that Rev. Warren asks us to contemplate in her book in praying into the darkness. Please consider inviting a friend or neighbor to join you. Dinner begins at 6.

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or
weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who
sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless
the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the
joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.

1979 BCP 134

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