Monday, February 10, 2014

A Night Litany: Prayer in the Night Watches:

Many people find that they awake in the middle of the night. For the Christian, these times are referred to as “the night watches” (see Psalms 63, 130), and are important opportunities for prayer. Rather than become distressed by being awake, use this time to intercede for others, especially those for whom the night is a time of work, worry, danger, or loss. 

This litany, found in the St. Augustine’s Prayer Book, is an old resource for such prayer. I have made some small changes to it for contemporary use; you may choose to modify it further—but its basic intention and concern remains valid. At the conclusion, I have added a collect taken from the Compline service underscoring the fact many people are working while others sleep. We need to remember these our brothers and sister in prayer, and honor their toil, for we often depend on them in vital situations.

*   *   *

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

O God, our Father, hear us.

We plead before Thee, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, for all who tonight stand in the most need of Thy merciful love and protection.

On souls beset by temptation, have mercy.
On those who have fallen into sin, have mercy.
On those who are given up to worldliness and forgetful of Thee, have mercy.
On those who are at this moment in danger of losing Thee forever, have mercy.
By Thine Agony, save them Jesus.

Those who are tempting others, convert to Thy love.
On those who are carrying on wicked trades and profit by sin, have mercy.
On the victims of sin, have mercy.
On those indulging in sinful amusements, have mercy.
On all those who are imperiling their souls by self-indulgence and luxury, have mercy.
On all frequenting haunts of sin, have mercy.
By Thy scourging, save them Jesus.
On all who are out tonight: the homeless, the weary, the starving, those tempted to suicide, the intemperate, have mercy.
On those who are out for sin, have mercy.
To those who are out to rescue others, grant help and protection.

For those who work at night: the police, railway workers, police, fire and emergency workers, morticians, those engaged on the stage, soldiers and sailors, sentries and guards on duty, editors, journalists (additional occupations/names may be added here:________________), let Thy Presence be with them Jesus.
For the sick and suffering and all who are enduring any agony of mind and body, comfort them Jesus.
For all undergoing operations, strengthen them Jesus and help them in body and soul.
For the sleepless and lonely, be near them.

For those in anxiety, nervous or mental distress, calm them.
For the mentally ill, keep them in Thy Power.
For those who attend upon them, make them tender-hearted and compassionate.
For night nurses, give faithfulness and sympathy.

For priests, doctors, and medical personnel called out this night, reward them.
By Thy Crown of Thorns, deliver them Jesus.
For those who this night must suffer bereavement, visit and sustain them.
For those for whom this will be their last night on earth, deepen their contrition and receive their souls.
For those whom sudden death summons before Thy Judgment, have mercy.
For those dying alone without priest or Sacrament, have mercy.
For those dying rejecting the ministry of thy Holy Church, have mercy.
On those dying unconscious, have mercy.
On those dying blind to their sin and the hurt they have done to others, have mercy.
On the souls of those who have turned away from faith who are near death, have mercy.
On those who are trying to turn to Thee, even in this their last hour, have mercy.
For those who are afraid to die, turn their heaviness into joy.
For dying priests, religious and all faithful Christians, have mercy on them and receive them to Thyself.
For the faithful departed, grant them light and peace.
For ourselves in our last hour, grant the pardon of our sins, our negligences and our ignorances.
By Thy Holy Death, deliver us all, O Jesus.
On behalf of those who have said no prayers today, let us say:

Our Father &c.

Hail Mary &c.

Let us pray.
 O God, your unfailing providence sustains the world we live in and the life we live: Watch over those, both night and day, who work while others sleep, and grant that we may never forget that our common life depends upon each other’s toil; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

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