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Keep Watch, dear Lord

This week's reflection is from Revd Devin McLachlan, our Associate Vicar

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have invited the nation to join them in prayer every day this month at 6pm as we remember the 100,000 people who have died in the UK from COVID-19. You can learn more about this special time of prayer in our eMag.

The first prayer which they suggest is a prayer from compline, attributed sometimes to St Augustine. It's a favourite of mine, and perhaps yours as well — the one which begins "Keep watch, dear lord, with those who work or watch or weep this night..."

I'm fond of the version which is in the American prayer book, which keeps the lovely line "shield the joyous" — a reminder of the both the fragility and the holiness of joy, and the need in our prayers to pray for and give thanks for our blessings, rather than to just worry about the difficult stuff:

Keep watch, dear Lord,

with those who work, or watch, or weep this night,

and give your angels charge over those who sleep.

Tend the sick, Lord Christ;

give rest to the weary,

bless the dying,

soothe the suffering,

pity the afflicted,

shield the joyous;

and all for your love's sake. Amen.

Do you have a favourite prayer? It might be one out of a book, or from a hymn, from scripture, or something you were taught as a child. And it might be one you're still looking for. Some of us keep a favourite prayer all our life, and sometimes God speaks with us through new and unexpected words. And someone else might still need a favourite prayer — a familiar and comfortable tool to use in their spiritual garden.

Perhaps it would help them if you were to share your favourite prayer. We're allowed to do that in lockdown — to pray for and with one another, to telephone or email or message, to share words of comfort, to share a favourite prayer, to help shield the joyous and give rest to the weary.


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