Which all sounds very high falutin' and spiritual I am sure. The dark night of the soul sooner or later becomes the lived experience and the great blessing of anyone who follows the way of silence, but it is a spiritual principle which has far wider application than just silent prayer. The dark night of the soul, or something like it, will need to be traversed whenever we seriously seek God's will. Often we will go to God in prayer, seeking God's approval for some scheme or other we have dreamed up, and come away from our prayer time buoyed up with the enthusiasm which generally precedes the disappointment of our plan's eventual failure. Invariably, if we are truly listening, we will need to enter a space that seems full of confusion and doubt and uncertainty. This is inevitable when you think about it: before we can be empty enough to receive God's ideas we have first got to let go of all our own old ones.
This dark night of the soul is seldom comfortable. We will often describe it to ourselves as a lack of vision or of imagination; as writer's block or confusion; perhaps as doubt or lack of faith; and it is usually at this point that we chicken out and dash back to the familiar comforts of our own reason and to things that we have tried or read about or dreamed up before.
I think the church in general is poised on the brink of such a dark night. Trusting that God is leading us onward into whatever it is that lies ahead of us, perhaps the prayer of our hearts needs to be not so much for certainty and direction, as for the trust (i.e. faith) to face and enter the darkness which must always precede the dawning of the distant light.