“Every prayer I have ever prayed, from the most faithful to the least, has been, in part, a confession uttered in the gospel of Mark: “I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:23-25). And that was my prayer as I uttered the well-worn words of Compline that night.”From “Prayer in the Night” by Tish Harrison Warren
“Prayer in the Night”, by Tish Harrison Warren, begins as Tish reflects back on a dark period in her life when she draws the Anglican Book of Common Prayer’s Compline close. The book is broken into four parts: Praying in the Dark, The Way of the Vulnerable, A Taxonomy of Vulnerability and Culmination and in each she examines elements of the compline and reflects on faith, suffering and vulnerability.
“Reaching for this old prayer service was an act of hope that it would put me under the knife, work in me like surgery, set things right in my own heart. I may as well have said, “Compline. STAT.”From “Prayer in the Night” by Tish Harrison Warren
Whether you love or hate or have never heard of Compline, you can appreciate the amazing insights, deep empathy for those suffering and honesty shared by Tish. Each chapter needs time to be digested and pondered. She doesn’t shy away from the difficulties, the hardships and the tough elements of Christianity.
“Faith, I’ve come to believe, is more craft than feeling. And prayer is our chief practice in the craft.”From “Prayer in the Night” by Tish Harrison Warren
Having unpacked Compline, Tish shares ways she worked through trauma. I love her frank approach, whilst making practical suggestions, she doesn’t imply it’s easy!
“The desolate places in my life that I most want to avoid are the very places God waits to meet me.”From “Prayer in the Night” by Tish Harrison Warren
I related so entirely to so much of this book. It made me feel seen. That the scary and horrible and vulnerable parts are okay. That even in the brokenness there is healing to be found. In essence, it creates hope and shows a way forward, a constellation of stars in the dark night!
“There is much we cannot know of God. Therefore, to be a Christian is to honor ambiguity. It requires a willingness to endure mystery and to admit that there are limits to human knowledge. God has us on a “need to know basis,” and there is much it seems that we don’t need to know.“From “Prayer in the Night” by Tish Harrison Warren
I can’t highly recommend the book highly enough! It’s amazing and needed and perfectly timed. It’s a five out five on the enJOYment scale!
From the back cover:
How can we trust God in the dark? Framed around a nighttime prayer of Compline, Tish Harrison Warren, author of Liturgy of the Ordinary, explores themes of human vulnerability, suffering, and God’s seeming absence. When she navigated a time of doubt and loss, the prayer was grounding for her. She writes that practices of prayer “gave words to my anxiety and grief and allowed me to reencounter the doctrines of the church not as tidy little antidotes for pain, but as a light in darkness, as good news.” Where do we find comfort when we lie awake worrying or weeping in the night? This book offers a prayerful and frank approach to the difficulties in our ordinary lives at work, at home, and in a world filled with uncertainty.
I received a complimentary copy of the book from InterVarsity Press through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.