Praying the Hours: Week 2 Reflections

I've never considered myself a morning person. And though I long-ago considered myself a night person, the first two weeks of Hope's experiment with Praying the Hours are the two forms that most challenge me: Week 1 of The Night Watch/Vigils and Week 2 of The Awakening Hour/Dawn.

For six nights I rose at 1 am -- during the midnight to dawn window of The Night Watch -- to present myself before God and, in some mystical way, bodily pray solidarity with those who face real or metaphorical darkness. At least once I fended off deep resistance when the 'Dawn Chorus' alarm quietly sounded at 1 am -- shuffling into the next room so as not to disturb Paul. At the start of each Vigil I lit a candle and, illuminated only by its flickering light, I read a Psalm text and entered a brief liturgy, closing with prayer. Often I wordlessly held the names and faces of those I knew to be suffering: a friend who sat through the night by his mother's hospice bed; another friend awaiting surgery; nameless others enduring violence and war. Somehow my wakefulness became a prayer .... and I felt drawn nearer to The One Who Keeps Watch Always.

In this second week of rising to welcome the day, I've actually risen before the alarm -- cradling a mug of hot tea as I face the eastern sky. "Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you ..." (Psalm 143.8). I've slowly moved away from structure and quietly embraced the fresh canvas of God's new day -- listening to a quiet chorus of birds from North, South, East and West of me. On Wednesday, I opened the scriptures just after sunrise to my bookmark in Romans. Here is what I read (in The Message version): "But make sure that you don't get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing!" (Romans 13.11-12, my italics). This text fell in the midst of my New Testament reading -- and I couldn't help but smile. Welcome, God! Join me in the journey of this day.

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