The temperature in our camper by 4 AM dropped to 33 degrees. BRRR. Our stay at Yellowstone exceeded our expectations in its beauty, diversity of scenery and awe at God’s creation. Yet when our tent camper’s small furnace refused to stay on more than ten minutes, the nights on this trip dragged on in never-ending numbness.
So I spent my nippy nighttime wakefulness in prayer – arctic adoration and icy interchange with our God.
The seventh and last pause I am learning more about is Matins or Vigils.
Pause and Listen to the Lesson of the Hour
In monastic traditions, the middle of the night prayers are often called vigils. Those who keep vigil are the watchers or sentinels of the night. In many communities, this practice has moved to early morning hours while it is still dark – almost a predawn prayer time.
Themes for this hour are vigilance, deep listening, mystery, surrender and trust.
Vigils – waiting, watching for the first signs of dawn, knowing God is present and anticipating His next move in our lives.
Stretch and Grow
We tightly squeeze our eyes shut, ignoring the darkness, yet if we ask the deep question of the night, often we grow the most in the times without light.
This pause celebrates prayerful waiting and watching – lifting others we love up in prayer, knowing God is listening, receiving them in His heart.
“I rise before dawn and cry for help; I put my hope in your word. My eyes are awake before each watch of the night that I may mediate on you promise.” Psalms 119: 147-148
In this sacred darkness I sit in silence.
Open in this moment, I trust in the darkness.
Waiting in trust, growing in trust.
Waiting and trusting the sacred darkness.
– Macrina Wiederkehr
I have seen too many stars to let the darkness overwhelm me. – Macrina Wiederkehr
Prayer goes deep at night, Images dissolve. There is only God, and silence, kindness and grace – Coleman Barks