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, Lord Christ, give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous, and all for your love’s sake. Amen.
Sleep’s always come pretty easy to me. Sometimes I joke that I wish it didn’t, given my tendency to sleep through my morning alarm and always want a little more. But these words echo in my mind, and I start wondering who will be awake through the night tonight.
This woman I’ve known for years through church recently told me she hasn’t had a good night’s sleep in fifteen years. She said this so gently, so lightly, that I almost missed it in the flow of our conversation.
Someone I work with told me she doesn’t ever sleep either, that those days are over for her and I should appreciate the luxury of sleep while I have it.
And then there’s my friend whose husband has Stage 4 cancer right now (click here to learn their story and help them out), who has to be awake before he is, ready to take care of anything he needs.
Or my partner’s father, who is often awakened by noises or just by pressing worries and can’t seem to slip back into dreaming.
Or my friend Andres who works as a janitor late into the night, driving home to his family when they’re all asleep already.
I could go on. There are so many people who are awake through the night, and they need prayer. In the quiet, in the loneliness of the darkest hours of the day, they need prayer. I like that this prayer says Jesus himself is looking after the awake ones, and the angels get deputized to watch the sleeping ones.
I need to pray prayers like this. I need to be reminded that God cares for us, waking or sleeping. I need to keep in mind that God cares for everyone, even in the moments when it seems like the whole world is asleep.
I’ll be thinking of you tonight, friends. I will be wishing peace and rest for you, and most importantly, that you will feel Someone out there caring for you.