Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Praying In The Night Time

Carthusian monks and nuns go to bed around eight o'clock but then they're up and out of bed at one in the morning, the start of their day. They pray through the night: praising and thanking God, watchful and anticipating the resurrection-dawn over the world in its darkness. Mind you, darkness doesn't simply mean sin, but human need, pain, ignorance, fear, trouble, confusion. Here is a picture of a Carthusian monk praying at night. He's wearing his cowl up; perhaps the chapel is cold or it helps to keep him in his interior place.

Sometimes we're awake at night too. Maybe we've had caffeine too close to bedtime or some anxiety is disturbing us, a dream or some outside noise has woken us. Usually we fuss about it and lament that we're losing sleep, but I'd suggest when we're awakened in the night we can become aware of the monks and nuns who are praying and join them, if even for a short while. He're's some ideas.

Right now, monks and nuns are praying.
Right now, there are people wandering~looking for a place to sleep.
Right now, some people are restless, their bodies filled with aches and pains.
Right now, there are people who are afraid of the night.
Right now, a baby is being born.

I intercede for peace around the world.
I intercede for all the children of the world.
I intercede for homes where there is fighting.
I intercede for those whose lives are ruined by drugs.
I intercede for anyone far away from home.

Comfort for those who are dying tonight.
Comfort for those who keep vigil at deathbeds.
Comfort for those who are suffering terrible loneliness.
Comfort for those who are weeping.
Comfort for those who are exhausted from the day.

In a prayer-solidarity with parents awake with sick children.
In a prayer-solidarity with those who feel forgotten.
In a prayer-solidarity with those who are in danger.
In a prayer-solidarity with anyone dreading tomorrow.
In a prayer-solidarity with those who are beginning their day.

Bless the people filled with anxiety.
Bless those awaiting help in Emergency Rooms.
Bless the night doctors and nurses.
Bless the rescuers.
Bless all who work the night-shift.

I pray for those who keep us safe through the night.
I pray for prisoners.
I pray for those who are doing criminal things right now.
I pray for those who can't sleep because they are hungry.
I pray for those who plan violence and death.

Rest for those who work hard for very little.
Rest for those who are discouraged.
Rest for those consumed with anger and resentment.
Rest for those with no inner peace.
Rest for those who are insomniacs.

A prayer for the safety of soldiers and sailors under every flag.
A prayer for people who live where there's war.
A prayer for those who are running for their lives.
A prayer for those who are frantic for the welfare of their children.
A prayer for the elderly and the frail who are left behind.

Blessings for this country and its leaders.
Blessings for my neighborhood.
Blessings for night-time travelers.
Blessings for my parish.
Blessings for my family and friends.

And, O God, a blessing for myself: that I would know how to love and serve you tomorrow.  Amen


  1. I have anxiety laden sleepless nights. I will keep these thoughts in mind when I lay awake in the hopes that I can help other people and that the focus elsewhere will allow me to relax in the darkness of night.

    1. Awake at night. I expect it is an invitation to pray. But I pray you get some sleep too!

  2. You can feel the focus and determination in this monk. How many of us pray with this fervor? A wonderful prayer Father. I will empty my mind of all other thoughts as I pray this and let it fill with these intentions.

    1. Yes, you can feel the intensity of the monks prayer. And of course, the spirit will enlighten your mind and heart to pray about persons and situations I've not thought of. The Lord bless you in the night time.

  3. It brings comfort to know that we are praying together along with the religious who have dedicated their lives to prayer. God bless them in their spiritual works and thank you for your prayer Father. It will bring peace during nighttime awakenings.

  4. This prayer is beautiful. I am happy when praying for others in the world. You always give insight to the worlds plight. It keeps me focused and takes me away from my worries.

  5. "I am happy when praying for others in the world." I am too. Thank you.

  6. I lay awake at night for no reason and with nothing to think about. Thank you for this thougtful prayer. I have just recorded it and will listen to it softly in the darkness of night and allow my blank mind to be filled with these intentions.

  7. It's just might be that you are called out of sleep with nothing to think about so that you can pray. I'm so pleased that you have found this post. Let's join the monks when this happens.

  8. Bless these contemplative monks. Oh that we should have even a fraction of the focus that they have in our own prayer lives. I will certainly use your prayer Father. I love your blog and am impressed by your interactions with your readers. I enjoy reading the comments and your responses. It is community building!

  9. Cyber-community! Saint Anthony of Padua preached from atop a tree. Now the priest has the internet. Pretty neat. There's a monk/nun in each of us - a contemplative dimension that is waiting to be tended. Thanks for tuning in here.

  10. I recently attended a meeting where someone remarked that at any given time, there is a monk praying for all of us. Somewhere out there, there are men who pray for the souls of all humanity. This gave me comfort, and now I see this post shortly after and I am so happy because it is as though someone is trying to tell me "It is true. Have faith because there are always prayers being offered for everyone." I had never thought of monks in modern times. My only knowledge of these pious men are from old books and movies.

  11. And there is a monk in each soul - that contemplative, interceding part of our souls that wants to be expressed, attended to, heard. I don't want to admire monks and nuns, I want to find my own contemplative voice that joins theirs. And that may take me into the night.