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Prayers during the nighttime



Prayers during the night, when sleep is hard to find


These prayers were originally written and recorded as part of the regular prayer cycle on Premier Radio, thinking particularly about those who lie at wake at night struggling to find the sleep they seek




I lie awake Lord, thinking, not sleeping,
which is where I should be,
knowing full well that it will be a while
before my mind succumbs, exhausted,
allowing me a portion of the rest I truly need.
But in this time of waiting, I listen,
not to the sound of silence, but to the world
outside this room, to a car that’s just gone by,
to the whisper of the wind, a voice raised nearby,
to a world that keeps on turning
whether we are asleep or working hard,
and I pray for those whose day begins
whilst most of us are in a land of dreams,
the night-shift workers in factories, hospitals,
care homes, distribution, and so many more
whose working hours disrupt the body’s natural clock
and leaves them vulnerable to exhaustion too.
So, Lord, as I lie here, I bring to you
all those unsung heroes who do the work
that I would rather not, asking that you will bless them
with the gift of sleep when they return to their homes
as our day begins, and theirs, in theory, ends.




Within the quietness of this early hour,
as the busyness of the day just gone
meets the beginning of yet another one,
and we lie awake still processing the thoughts,
challenges, arguments and fears of yesterday,
bring a healing touch of calm into these minds,
and a sleep that gives strength to persevere.
We lay before you our yesterdays, giving thanks
for the positives, knowing you were with us
in both busyness and quiet, in our laughter
and in our tears. And we bring to you
our tomorrows, knowing that there will be
difficulties and challenges to face
that need your Spirit’s help to overcome,
and that we are not the only ones
who struggle on this daily journey through life,
there is an invisible fellowship of lives like ours.
So, we draw close to you in this moment,
asking that you will bless all those
whose nights are restless, and days are tiring.
Bring the comfort of sleep, and the knowledge
that we shall waken in your company, and walk
with you through all this coming day will bring.




Precious God, in the quietness of the night
I bring to you the jumble of my thoughts
collected in the day just gone, of things
I said and did, or did not do, and afterwards
felt angry with myself, for opportunities missed
to bring a little love or light into someone else’s life.
I bring to you this box of anxieties and concerns
I seem to have been carrying for such a long time,
for my arms and heart now ache with the burden
of the load, and I have finally chosen to lay it down
at your feet, admitting that I cannot, on my own
set this world to right, or bring the healing
I would dearly love to see in others’ and my life.
So, in this moment, in the quietness of this space
in which I lie awake, I empty myself of all this
and ask that you will fill the void that’s left
with your peace, presence, healing and rest,
that I might wake refreshed for the new day
and its opportunities to show your light,
to be the person I know you want me to be.



Nights can be long, dear God, when sleep evades,
or caring duties for young or old disturb the body’s
normal rhythm of working, rest, and play,
until a weariness sets in, displayed in eyes
and voice, and something difficult to ignore.
So we bring to you those who are struggling
at this moment with family responsibilities,
whose sleep has been broken by a baby’s cry
or the shuffle of elderly feet wandering
from the safety of their bed. Bless the carers,
we pray, and be with them in their tiredness.
May their sense of frustration be replaced by
compassion, peace, and love, and may they show,
in their words and actions, something of your
loving touch, as the wanderer is returned
to the safety of their bed, or the baby’s cry
stilled by gentle words or a lullaby.
And in the quietness that follows,
until dawn opens the door to another day,
may there be a deep, and restful sleep.




There is a stillness in the night, when lights are off
and traffic noise and passing voices on the street
no longer mask the sound of owl or wind outside.
It can sometimes seem as if the world is sleeping,
in preparation for the day to come. Yet for some,
in an upside-down life, it’s another working day
as night shifts begin in factories, maintenance,
health and social care, law enforcement, shelf
stacking in superstores, and many other places.
And this, we know, takes its toll on body, mind
and spirit, as do the broken nights of many
who have babes or infants struggling to sleep
for so many reasons, and those who simply find
that for them, sleep does not easily come,
where nights are long and filled with anxiety.
So, Father God, we pray for all your children,
young and old, who in this night are active,
signing in at work or lying in their beds,
and ask you to bless them at this moment.
Supply them with their needs, be it sleep,
peace, patience, concentration, or simply
endurance. And keep them safe and well, we pray.

ebooks by John Birch


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