There is a moving prayer, part of Compline–prayers said at the end of the day– contained in the most uncommon “Book of Common Prayer”, that my husband John and I pray aloud together virtually every night before we go to sleep.
“Lord, guide us waking, and guard us sleeping, that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.”
…to ponder keeping watch with Christ? And of Christ keeping watch for and over us….
After years of hearing and saying aloud this unparalleled prayer, its impact on my heart produced word-pictures. As we prayed one night, I saw each word of our prayer transform into a granite boulder and form together, word by word, like the beautiful stonewalls of New England, a stonewall of vigilant prayer around us. Not only a protection for us, but a bulwark of Spirit upon which we stand and watch for others in Christ’s company. Perhaps–no, surely–as the days of 2016 have drawn to a close, and I awake to a new year apparently already formed, across cultures and orb, in turmoil and threat, this prayer, and Christ’s reality, are a foundation, a sure anticipation, an indestructible root augmented in significance in my thought.
The Words of Our Prayers Are Stones
The words of our night prayers are stones
Of stone walls
Lord, guide us waking, and guard us sleeping
Delineating home, our very earth-place,
Each word a granite boulder placed by God,
Or a little rock wedged in,
That awake we may watch with Christ
In vigil on our wall with Christ,
On prayer word-stones held to the earth
By the gravitas of God.
And asleep we may rest in peace—
Guarded by Christ, resting
Against each other, against God,
Like the stones of our words,
Like the stonewalls of our prayers,
Against, for now, the earth.
C Deanna Harrington Christiansen 2017 All Rights Reserved