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Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep

Tish Harrison Warren

Top 10 Best Quotes

“Beauty doesn’t take away the pain of suffering or vulnerability. It’s not like cicada song or good coffee make it hurt any less to lose a spouse or a friendship, or even just to have a hard day. But in the times when we think anguish and dimness are all there is in the world, that nothing is lovely or solid, beauty is a reminder that there is more to our stories than sin, pain, and death. There is eternal brilliance. It’s not quite enough to resolve our questions or tie anything up in a nice metaphysical bow, but sometimes it is enough to get us through the next hour. And in enduring a mystery, we need just enough light to take one more step.”

“But unless we make space for grief, we cannot know the depths of the love of God, the healing God wrings from pain, the way grieving yields wisdom, comfort, even joy. If we do not make time for grief, it will not simply disappear. Grief is stubborn. It will make itself heard or we will die trying to silence it. If we don't face it directly it comes out sideways, in ways that aren't always recognizable as grief: explosive anger, uncontrollable anxiety, compulsive shallowness, brooding, bitterness, unchecked addiction. Grief is a ghost that can't be put to rest until its purpose has been fulfilled.”

“The church’s prophetic witness to an outrage culture is to be a people who know how to weep together at the pain and injustice in the world (both past and present) and at the reality of our own sin and brokenness.”

“Steven and Bethany have a lot of friends on the streets, and the afflicted extend hospitality to them. They are welcomed into homeless camps and given advice about where to sleep most comfortably. When they brought their five-month-old on a retreat with them, someone showed them the safest places to spend the night with their baby. One friend they met on the street prayed for them, asking for angels to protect them, for their safety in the night, and that they’d meet the morning with a good breakfast. Bethany”

“Stanley Hauerwas explains his love for praying “other people’s prayers”: “Evangelicalism,” he says, “is constantly under the burden of re-inventing the wheel and you just get tired.” He calls himself an advocate for practicing prayer offices because, We don’t have to make it up. We know we’re going to say these prayers. We know we’re going to join in reading of the psalm. We’re going to have these Scripture readings. . . . There’s much to be said for Christianity as repetition and I think evangelicalism doesn’t have enough repetition in a way that will form Christians to survive in a world that constantly tempts us to always think we have to do something new.”

“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 times of deep pain in my own life, the belief of the church has carried me. When we confess the creeds in worship, we don’t say, “I believe in God the Father . . .” because some weeks I do and some weeks, I can’t climb that high. Instead we confess, “We believe . . .” Belief isn’t a feeling inside of us, but a reality outside of us into which we enter, and when we find our faith faltering, sometimes all we can do is fall on the faith of the saints. We believe together. Thank God belief isn’t left to me and my ever-fluctuating faithfulness.”

“Craftsmen—writers, brewers, dancers, potters—show up and work, and they participate in a mystery. They take up a craft, again and again, on bad days and good, waiting for a flash of mercy, a gift of grace.”

“But when Jesus ascended, he did not simply leave us with a token to remember him by until he returns. He promised to keep working. He sent his Holy Spirit to his people. The promise of the resurrection is also that Jesus is still at work today, in our own lives. In the present tense. So we wait and watch for the coming kingdom when God will finally set things right, but we also wait and watch for glimpses of that kingdom here and now.”

“A gardener cannot make daffodils grow, nor can a baker force the alchemic glory of yeast and sugar. And yet we are given means of grace that we can practice, whether we feel like it or not, and these carry us.”

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Book Keywords:

regret, sorrow, loss, bereavement-loss, grief

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