Restless Nights

Night fog hits me around 9 p.m. I am not a “night owl” and never have been. I do get up early. I am the “early bird” so around 9 at night…I fade quickly and can easily be asleep by 9:15. From the time I fall asleep until the time to get up, I typically sleep very sound. I have just never really experienced sleepless nights.

You don’t know what you don’t know but I have discovered many people have trouble sleeping. Most people can go to sleep but if they wake up, they can’t go back to sleep. At age 45 this started happening to me. I would wake up and have trouble falling back to sleep. Many times I decided maybe God wanted me to pray so I did.

Funny thing…praying would really wake me up, especially if I started praying for other people. This was not a bad thing until I started experiencing unusual fatigue during the day….a new normal for me. I prayed through my dilemma and even considered taking something to help me sleep at night. We have a great friend, Rick, who is a sleep disorder doctor. He was so kind and gave me ideas about what to do at night to see if I could treat myself.

1. Don’t drink caffeine too late at night.
2. Don’t watch the news at night.
3. Don’t watch or work on the computer right before you go to bed.
4. Read before bed (something good…something positive).

All of those things helped. I realized that reading before bed and not watching the news really, really helped. There was one other tremendously helpful thing for me. When I woke up at night, I did pray but I started just praying the Lord’s prayer. Most of the time when I pray during the day or in my quiet time, I don’t pray that exact prayer. But in the middle of the night, it focused me on something specific to pray. After all, this is how we are told to pray in scripture. The most unusual thing happened. The prayer in the middle of the night became more meaningful than ever.

When I said it, it kept me focused. When I prayed that prayer, it didn’t take me to places or have my mind wondering or sometimes worrying about things that, in the middle of the night, I could do nothing about. It truly focused me. The coolest thing happens now. If I do wake up, I know what to do. I pray and I know what to pray. It is calming. It is true “middle of the night fellowship” with God and it blankets me with peace…reassurance….soothes me back into a peaceful sleep.

So, point of post…I believe when we have a ton going on in our lives….things that cause us to be concerned…
a busy schedule…
the Lord’s prayer is a warm blanket on a “cold night” or can be a “cool breeze” on a hot night of restless sleep.

The Lord’s prayer allows my mind NOT to wander in many directions…in the middle of the night. BUT to focus on God and how He does want us to pray and, most importantly, it has given me “His” rest. So if you are experiencing broken sleep, try praying like Jesus recommended in Matthew 6:9-13:

“This, then, is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’”

Praying the Lord’s prayer can be God’s lullaby for His peaceful rest. “Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.”

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