I first read Prayer in the Night in January, 2022, and I remember thinking to myself, “this is going to be my favorite book of the year.” But who’s crazy enough to conclude that as early as January?! Well, after reading dozens of books since, I can confirm: this was, hands-down, my favorite book of 2022! I loved it so much I read it a second time with my book club.
Here are 10 Favorite Quotes:
Over a lifetime the ardor of our belief will wax and wane. This is a normal part of the Christian life. Inherited prayers and practices of the church tether us to belief, far more securely than our own vacillating perspective or self-expression. (16)
To look to Jesus is to know that our Creator has felt pain, has known trouble, and is well-acquainted with sorrow. But our hope in suffering is not merely to gaze on the biography of an ancient man frozen in the pages of the Bible. The story of the gospel is not a mere mantra or a relic of history. It is alive and ongoing. The work of Jesus continues, even now, in our everyday lives. So in hardship we do not look to Jesus solely as one who has been there before, once upon a time in a distant past. We find he is here with us, in the present tense. He participates in our suffering, even as–mysteriously–in our suffering we participate in the fullness of Christ’s life. (30)
The hope God offers us is this: he will keep close to us, even in darkness, in doubt, in fear and vulnerability. He does not promise to keep bad things from happening. He does not promise that night will not come, or that it will not be terrifying, or that we will immediately be tugged to shore. He promises that we will not be left alone. He will keep watch with us in the night. (32-33).
Unless we make space for grief, we cannot know the depths of the love of God, the healing God wrings from pain, the way grieving yields wisdom, comfort, even joy. (43)
Jesus’ resurrection is the sole evidence that love triumphs over death, that beauty outlives horror, that the meek will inherit the earth, that those who mourn will be comforted. The reason I can continue watching and waiting, even as the world is shrouded in darkness, is because the things I long for are not rooted in wishful thinking or religious ritual but are as solid as a stone rolled away. (57)
The ones Jesus calls are the weary ones, the ones who snap at those they love after a long day, the ones who battle addiction, the ones who aren’t who they wish they were, the ones who know they are not strong, the ones who wrestle and repent, who fail and fail again. This is the church, the ones through whom Jesus is strong. (106)
Jesus’ yoke is light not because he promises ease or success, but because he promises to bear our burdens with us. He promises to shoulder our load. (108)
We pray as an act of hope in God’s goodness. We pray because we believe that God, who makes no promises of our safety and comfort, loves us and takes care of us. We pray because our lives are part of the big story of God’s work of redemption. (114)
God isn’t a sadist who delights in using agony to teach us a lesson. But in the alchemy of redemption, God can take what is only sorrow and transform it into the very path by which we learn to love God and let ourselves be loved. This is the strange (and usually unwanted) way of the abundant life–the dying necessary to bring resurrection. (126)
This world is full of beauty and horror, but the unchanging reality underneath it all is the love of God that creates, sustains, and redeems all things. (165)