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I wonder what time of day people pray most? I mean if everyone wore a kind of spiritual Fitbit that would record moments of prayer like counting steps what would the peak times be?
I suspect that the most heartfelt prayers would be during the night. A lot of people still say their prayers before they go sleep. Perhaps it is an old childhood habit. A few have even confessed to me that they feel guilty that they often fall asleep while praying. Rather than scold them I have said, “Isn’t that great that your last thought when drifting off to sleep is prayer! I wish I could do that.”
I would imagine that people who don’t even think of themselves as particularly religious pray in the darkness more often than they admit in the light of day. When the busyness of the day is stripped away, night is when we are most vulnerable to the old doubts and worries creeping in. As you get older you have to get up more frequently in the night, and it is often a race to get back to sleep before the mind wakes up and starts in on the litany of things that need to be done or worried about. I speak from painful experience having had too many good night’s sleep ruined by an aging bladder.
Part of me wishes I could share some magic words, a fool-proof incantation, that would always produce restful sleep. However, I am amazed how much really important spiritual stuff happened at night in the Bible. Look at Jesus, for example. He was born at night and his resurrection happened at night. Remember the women who went at first to give him a decent funeral only discovered it was Easter as the sun was still peaking up over the Eastern horizon.
That makes me think that while there may be shape shifting monsters and boogey men, ready to take the scary form of old angers, doubts and worries, hiding in the dark (I confess I have run into a few of them on my nocturnal jaunts to the bathroom), the Gospel truth is that God who is love is known most fully in the dark.
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