Prayer in the Night – Rev. Tish Harrison Warren

In her book Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep, Rev. Tish Harrison Warren takes us through her personal journey of a dark night of the soul when she experienced her own vulnerability, suffering, and God’s seeming absence. Within this darkness, she found strength and comfort within the final prayer of Compline: 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. In her book, 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. This Epiphany/Lenten study covers twelve weeks.
(Epiphany/Lent 2023)

Prayer in the Night – An Introduction

In her book, Rev. Warren 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.
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Prayer in the Night – The Prologue

As I prayed that night, I wanted to believe the things I proclaimed: that God knew and loved me, that this terrible moment, too, would be redeemed. I believed it and I didn’t. Reaching for this old prayer service was an act of hope.
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Prayer in the Night – Those Who Weep: Lament pt.1

It is in the quiet and in the solitude of the night that our unresolved sadness begins to spill out. We ask God to watch over those who persist in unresolved grief because we know that each of us will suffer from this persistent grief.
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Prayer in the Night – Those Who Weep: Lament pt.2

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.
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Prayer in the Night – The Mourner’s Kaddish

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:
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Prayer in the Night – Those Who Watch: Attention

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.
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Prayer in the Night – Those Who Work: Restoration, pt.2

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.
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Prayer in the Night – Soothe the Suffering: Comfort, pt.2

In soothing our suffering, Jesus does not make us stronger. He may not even take away the cause of the suffering itself. But the promise he gives us is that in facing our suffering he will make it known that his grace is sufficient for us. 2 Cor. 12:9.
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Prayer in the Night – All for Your Love’s Sake: Dawn

Darkness is not explained, but it is defeated. Night is not a riddle to be solved, but a mystery to be endured until it too is overcome by the light. In those dark times, we must always remember the end. It might be Good Friday, but Easter is coming.
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