Sunday, May 21, 2017
Night Time Prayers
Night time prayers are the desperate prayers. Night time prayers are not the "Now I lay me down to sleep" kind of prayers. Neither are they the planned evening prayers offered heavenward before putting our head down on the pillow. Usually, there is little that is orderly about them. Seldom do they come from some book of prayer. Night time prayers are the desperate prayers. They are the prayers prayed from the heart that is breaking, from the body that is being endlessly besieged by unmanageable pain, and from the spirit that is about to give up. Prayed in the dark, they speak of hopes not yet seen.
Jesus prayed night time prayers. He prayed often as the Scripture just speaks of Him drawing apart from the stuff of His life, or maybe praying until the sun touches the horizon once again. But, His most remembered night time prayer is the one prayed during the deep darkness of His last night on this earth before His death on the cross. All the gospel writers speak of Him praying. While the gospel writer John remembered what we have come to know as the High Priestly Prayer of John 17, the other three remembered the agony of His praying and the way He desperately prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet, not what I want but what You want." (Matthew 26:39)
Our night time prayers do not have the shadow of the cross looming over them, but they are often prayed in dire and unwanted circumstances. Parents know about them when their child wakes up feverish in the night. But, there are other moments, too. Being roused by the restless sleep of someone in pain, or suffering, or dying brings those prayers from the soul as well. As we pray those desperate night time prayers, sometimes only praying to see the light of day again, we can know Jesus has stood there, too, and more importantly, is watching and waiting and working through that darkness with us.