Monday, April 16, 2007

Night Prayer

I discovered this prayer a few years ago when going through a difficult time. It became my nightly prayer, as I worked or kept watch or wept through the night. I offer it for our sisters and brothers in Virginia and around the world who reel once again at this reminder of what a mindlessly violent world-- nation-- we live in. We are still at Calvary after all.

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.


don't eat alone said...

I love this prayer. It was new to me, too, this year, thanks to Nora Gallagher. I wrote about it back in February; thought you might like to read it: shield the joyous


Cecilia said...

Ah, Milton thank you for that. So profoundly true, the fragility and fleeting nature of joy.

I prayed this with particular intensity when my marriage ended and when my mother was dying. (She fit almost all the catgories and verbs, with the exception of shielding the joyous).

Readers, I commend Milton's piece to you (I tried to spell it peace, and it is that too).

Pax, C.

Catherine + said...

Cecelia, thank you for pointing toward Milton's article. It is very moving and thought-provoking.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Cecilia, the prayer is from the Order of Compline in The Daily Office from "The Book of Common Prayer".

Maybe you knew that. It's a prayer I have loved since I first heard/read it.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

It's my very favorite prayer in the BCP. I particularly love the line "shield the joyous"--Louie Crew brought it to my attention and I think of people like him when I pray it.

seeking chivalry said...

Thanks for posting this - it's lovely! I have no printer at work, so I sat here and scribbled it very small on the back of a business card, just so I could have a copy.

I'm here courtesy of Mother Laura who said that you've been making her think a lot. I'll be sticking around. :)

Caminante said...

This prayer is my last conscious thought every night after I turn out the light. I don't say it outloud, but I say it in my heart. It is also the prayer I use at the end of vestry meetings. I suspect when I am near death, the words will resonate somewhere deep inside me when whoever is tending to me prays them (as I guess I had better specify, smile).

Bill said...

This is also a favorite of mine. Like someone already noted, it’s found in the BCP in the Order for Compline. It’s also found in Evening Prayers as an optional prayer. I like it, so when I lead our Evening Prayer group, I usually include it. I have a few other favorites from Evening Prayer.
O Gracious Light is said just before the reading of the Psalms.

O Gracious Light Phos hilaron

O gracious Light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!

Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.

And finally, just before the end, we find the Prayer of St. Chrysostom

A Prayer of St. Chrysostom

Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one
accord to make our common supplication to you; and you
have promised through your well-beloved Son that when two
or three are gathered together in his Name you will be in the
midst of them: Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions
as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of
your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting. Amen.