Tiffany Walsh explains how she developed a new prayer routine to include Night Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours.
May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful death.
I recently began an online course devoted to prayer, put together by my very own dear sister, Shauna’h. I loved the idea of my very own Back-to-School situation (it does not matter how old I get, I love new routines and taking on new learning challenges in September!) and have been excitedly following along with her suggestions on slowly adding in dedicated times and spaces throughout your day for prayer. A good portion of what we’ve been working on is incorporating the Liturgy of the Hours into our days, a task I worked on a bit during Holy Week this year with Morning and Evening Prayer, and one which I truly enjoyed. The very first hour that Shauna’h suggested we work on was Night Prayer. In all of my years of experimenting with the Liturgy of the Hours, I had rarely attempted Night Prayer, and indeed, had zero success with being consistent with it for any length of time.
Eager student that I was, however, I pulled out the current Ordinary Time green book of my 4 volume Liturgy of the Hours set, and prayed Night Prayer a few times that week. During the weekly Zoom gathering for the course, someone pulled out a slim little volume consisting solely of Night Prayer. Book lover that I am, I was instantly intrigued.
This concise little volume was very slim, and would make a much easier addition to my tiny and crowded nightside stand, rather than the thick current volume for the Liturgy of the Hours (or it’s sibling, the single volume Christian Prayer book). It would also make it possible to make Night Prayer a permanent adornment next to my bed, with my main Liturgy of the Hours volume freed up to travel with me in hopes of getting in Morning and Evening Prayer during the rest of my day. Thinking of my piece last month on building micro prayer habits, I ended up ordering this little guy, and I have to say that I’m in love. No flipping is involved, the prayers are all there listed for each day of the week, making it as easy as possible to pray Night Prayer each night in bed before I fall asleep. A little attached ribbon helps me to keep track of what day of the week I need to open.
Since receiving my adorable Night Prayer package, I have prayed that hour every single night. The ease and convenience are a big part of it, but I had also never fully realized the beauty of the words in Night Prayer:
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake, watch over us as we sleep, that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in his peace.
Morning Prayer definitely calls my mind to the rising dawn, especially in the Gospel Canticle of Zechariah, but Night Prayer takes it to a whole different level. Each night, as I feel my eyelids getting heavy, I feel that something is missing until I pull out my little Night Prayer book and pray the prayers present for that hour of the day. Even if I fail at other prayer goals I had for that day, I feel incomplete unless I pray Night Prayer.
Does anyone else regularly pray Night Prayer?
Do you pray that hour alone, or do you also try to incorporate in other hours as well? I would love to hear about it in the comments!
Copyright 2021 Tiffany Walsh
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About the Author
Tiffany Walsh is a wife and mother, a native western New Yorker, and a college librarian. She is a cradle Catholic who rekindled her childhood faith as a graduate student via her love of books, and is the author of Exploring the Catholic Classics, part of the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women series. She enjoys writing about faith, crafting, dance, fitness and wellness. Visit her blog at Life of a Catholic Librarian.