Psalm 42:8 (Common Book of Worship)
The LORD grants loving-kindness in the daytime; in the night season the song of the LORD is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
For some reason, our troubles can seem worse at night. As we lie awake on our beds in those silent hours of relentless dark, our worries weigh heavier, fear looms larger, grief pulls up forgotten sorrows, and remorse stings like shaming nettles. The night season can feel lonely. We may search for God without the hope and confidence that carried us through the daylight hours.
Sometimes the night season pushes its way into our daytime as well, taking the form of depression or despair. Joy becomes hard to find. Hope is eclipsed by fear and doubt. Our path forward, which previously seemed clear and sure, now seems confused and uncertain. Negativity takes our memories captive, limiting access to all the goodness and blessings we’ve experienced. It forces us to replay our tragedies and disappointments, to rehearse our grudges and accusations against others and against ourselves.
The psalmist gets through the night season by keeping “the song of the Lord” close. This song is fashioned from the words we store away during the daylight hours, when faith is strong and we know loving-kindness from the hand of our God. We can put those daylight hours to good use by filling our minds with God’s Word, pondering it until it softens our hearts and puts down roots. We can tell stories about how God has loved and helped us, and those who hear can remind us of our faith when we lose touch with it. Song lyrics of praise and thanksgiving committed to memory may rise and play across our minds during times of fear or despair, forcing back negativity with God’s light and truth. Through the psalms especially, in those dark hours we can pray sacred words that we’ve stored up until, eventually, we find our own words to pray.
FATHER, sometimes the night hours can feel heavy and hopeless. Give me the words I need to pray when I have none of my own. Release my daylight hours from the intrusion of night seasons and restore my memories of your faithful love. Keep me from harming others or myself with distorted perceptions that lead to misunderstanding and unfair blaming.
Job 35:9-11; Psalm 69:30
In daylight hours, look for a psalm you can pray to God when the night season steals your hope.