By Grant Edwards
(Grant is senior pastor of Fellowship Church in Springfield. He's given us permission to include his reflections and suggestions from scripture and personal experience. Insomnia can affect relationships by making us more irritable and insensitive with each other!)
Too many of us can't sleep. It’s so frustrating -- 3 AM and wide awake. Then 6 AM and you fall asleep with the alarm sounding at 7 AM.
Someone then remarks, "You look like something that the cat dragged in from a night of prowling."
We want to call down fire from heaven on them!
I'm writing this at 4:30 AM. What I describe below didn't work last night. Most of the time it does but sometimes I just get up and pray -- or write!
The Bible correlates sleep with the favor of the Lord. Psalms 127 says that the Lord gives sleep to those He loves. We know that God loves us; so something not of God interrupts our sleep. I do three things to align my sleep with God’s purposes.
Before I sleep … Proverbs 3 says that we should not lie down with fear. Psalm 4 teaches that we should lie down in peace
When I lie down, I think three things… 1. God, I am thankful about these three things. 2. God, I ask grace for these two regrets from the day (only two as I can get stuck here easily. Some days, I specialize in regretful things). 3. God, I cast these 3 anxieties upon you.
When I wake up at 3 AM (it might be a different time for you). At night our mental and emotional safeguards are relaxed. Psalm 91 says that we should not be afraid of the terrors of the night. Fear surfaces in the middle of the night with an intensity that daylight mutes.
When I wake up in the middle of the night. I take ten deep breaths while I pray for individuals in distress. Something about the deep breathing helps. Praying for others keeps me from getting on the ‘self-worry about everything’ spinning wheel in my mind. Once I start the spinning it takes a few hours for it to stop.
Intercession note … my best intercession is at night. I imagine better and I'm more sensitive to spiritual warfare. With practice you will be able to discern whether it is stress or God that is getting you up.
In the morning. Great sleep prepares us for a great day. After I have slept well, I wake up about 15 minutes before I need to get out of bed. While still in bed, I seek the presence of God.
First, I say, "Jesus, I proclaim that you are my Savior and Lord!
Second, I proclaim, "Spirit, allow me to walk in the your promises of peace (Philippians 4:7); power (Philippians 4:13); and provision (Philippians 4:19) today."
Third, I state, "God in all that I do today, I will seek first the kingdom of God!"
I then get out of bed. I'm ready for a great day. And if someone mentions that I still look terrible -- in peace, power, and provision, I ask God to open the earth to swallow them whole.
I calm down after my first cup of coffee!
(To receive daily email reflections from Grant, just forward him your email address at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.