Night prayer is a habit I picked up in a monastery. Every night, the last sounds we made were the words of Compline prayer. After that a Grand Silence fell on the house. It was an awesome ritual–committing ourselves and the house into the arms of the Lord for safekeeping. Whatever happened during the day, by the time my head hit the pillow, the world and I were at peace in my Father’s arms.
Night prayer for me now begins with asking forgiveness for whatever injuries I’ve caused or mistakes I’ve made during the day. (The Lord’s really good at helping me remember exactly where I screwed up!) After that, I read one of the Psalms and spend some time with Him, listening. After the quiet time, I pray for folks–invoking 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 over all the folks the Lord’s brought to me for prayer. Then I just rest, in my Father’s presence, until I drift off to sleep.
Lately, as soon as I turn on the bedroom light, a cricket outside my window somewhere begins to chirp along with me–as long as I’m praying, until I turn the light off to sleep. It’s comforting to hear him. It’s comforting to have someone who prays with me, even if it’s a cricket. I know it’s a cricket and not a katydid because crickets have 2-part songs and katydid’s songs are three notes long. This is definitely a cricket. The most amazing thing is that he starts when I turn the light on and stops when I turn it off. Even if I turn the light back on again, he’s smart enough to know not to start chirping again. Compline is Compline, and Grand Silence is Grand Silence.
Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. (Lamentations 2:19a)
On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. (Psalm 63:6-8.)