Prayer in the Night by Tish Harrison Warren–Book Review

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, give rest to the weary.
Sustain the dying, calm the suffering,
and pity the distressed;
all for Your love’s sake, O Christ our Redeemer.
Amen.
– Book of Common Prayer

Author Tish Warren uses the nighttime prayer from the Service of Compline to walk through the dark times we all experience. Her own dark year included two miscarriages, a move to a new city, and the unexpected death of her father. In a time of grief and vulnerability, repeating this prayer was a comfort and a source of strength. Although some people scoff at liturgical prayers (other peoples’ prayers) and consider them less authentic, Ms. Warren makes a case for using them. She says:

“During that difficult year, I didn’t know how to hold to both God and the awful reality of human vulnerability. What I found was the prayers and practices of the church that allowed me to hold to –or rather to be held by–God when little else seemed sturdy, to hold to the Christian story even when I found no satisfying answers.”

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

Each chapter is centered around one section of the prayer– for example, “Keep Watch, ” “Those Who Weep,” “Bless the Dying.” This leads to an examination of the theological struggle we often face, how can God be all-powerful even as horrible things happen to us and to the world?” This “problem of pain” is called theodicy, and it often leads to a true crisis of faith.

There is no pat answer. God does not always rescue us. In the end, Tish Warren quotes this statement from Tim Keller:

“If you ask …. Why does God allow evil and suffering to continue?… and we look at the cross of Jesus, we still do not know what the answer is. However, we know what the answer isn’t. It can’t be that he doesn’t love us.”

There are discussion questions and some suggested practices at the end. This could easily be used for journaling, or as a small group resource.

You can read more about Tish Harrison Warren and find a number of versions of the Compline service at tishharrisonwarren.com.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. I’m a liturgical person, so it really resonated with me.

For more about grief see these posts:

The Gravity of Joy by Angela Williams Gorrell–Book Review

The Night Lake by Liz Tichenor–Book Review

For more about the liturgy see:

Liturgy as Prayer

Learning from the Liturgy

This entry was posted in Christian books and tagged , , , by jculler1972. Bookmark the permalink.

About jculler1972

My husband is the retired pastor of St. Paul's Free Lutheran Church in Leitersburg, Maryland. I have two grown daughters, three grandchildren and am retired after a career in Purchasing. I have published articles in The Lutheran Ambassador, Lutheran Witness, and Lutheran Digest. My Bible study on the Book of Acts was published in 2016 by the Women's Missionary Federation of the AFLC(Association of Free Lutheran Churches).

2 thoughts on “Prayer in the Night by Tish Harrison Warren–Book Review

  1. Pingback: When You’re Sick #2 | Lutheran Ladies Connection

  2. Pingback: When You’re Sick #2 | Lutheran Ladies Connection

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.