To All My Sleep-Deprived Friends
I want to talk about something near and dear to my heart… sleep. Sleep is everything. When I have a string of bad nights I feel easily irritated, downhearted, and just plain crappy. Likewise when I get a strong stretch of good sleep, I wake up feeling like I can conquer the world.
The Lord blessed me with two really cute kids who hate sleep. So I am writing this post with a few special mamas in mind. These are my fellow mamas with bad sleepers. You know who you are. Some of my mama friends have great sleepers. You should read this too because well, you are already here. My own mama says that by the time your kids are grown and gone your body has conditioned itself to wake up in the night anyways. Awesome.
I recently finished edits for a new devotional coming out Spring 2018. It is a 365 devotional with each day discussing a deep Question for a Woman’s Soul. Each day is organized by topic. A few weeks back, my editor sent me an email and politely explained that we needed some more variety in my topic selection. Apparently, I had too many topics that were too similar –exhaustion, fatigue, tiredness, weariness, and weakness, to name a few. Apparently not sleeping for the last four years has had an impact on my soul and my writing!
Sleep can make or break your day. Am I right? I find it funny when people say, “I’m just someone who really needs my sleep.” Who doesn't love and need sleep? Sadly, for some of us, it just isn’t in the cards.
The other day, I was flipping through a book called Celtic Daily Prayer. I found this prayer of blessing over sleep and I just knew this was something worth sharing.
The sky is bright with uncountable stars.
I know they are uncountable:
I have tried this impossible task
these sleepless nights.
Where are you, Lord,
as the fog of fatigue
numbs me of all
but the desperate desire to sleep?
Comfort me, Lord, with Your presence
as the ever-watchful mother
soothes the fretful, feverish child.
Grant me the gift of sleep;
and be the guardian of my dreams,
that I may know You through them also.
Or if I must watch with You through
the long, hard night,
share with me the burden of Your heart
that my sleepless hours
be spent in purposeful prayer.
And if You bless me once more with the
gift of the morning,
may I rise,
grateful to greet You,
ready to walk with You
into the tasks of the day.
You want to know my favorite part of this prayer?
“That my sleepless hours
be spent in purposeful prayer.”
I love this because it makes me feel like the nights where I continually drag myself out of bed to hold my sobbing, sick, or teething children have great purpose. Not just to care and comfort my babies but also to care for and comfort others through the ministry of prayer.
Doesn’t Scripture call us to this?
"Never Stop Praying."
1 Thessalonians 5:17
"Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere."
How do we weave prayer into the fabric of our lives?
Sometimes it’s tempting to think we simply don’t have time for prayer. Or maybe we just have all the good intentions to follow through praying for another but simply struggle to remember to do it. I want to encourage my sleep-deprived mamas, friends, and family to see those nights as ones filled with great purpose. Perhaps those nights can be spent in intentional prayer for others.
Sometimes when I am rocking my baby in the night, I choose to pray for a group of people in my life by name – my family, my college girlfriends, my mom tribe. Or I pray over my babies or for my husband’s day of work tomorrow. Or think back over the last week about the people who have asked for prayer and then I actually do it! I’m one of those people who forget to pray for someone unless I pray the moment I hear the request.
So for those of you who will be up tonight, whether you are holding your sick child or lying in bed with insomnia, God is with you in that space. He longs to hear your heart. Perhaps he created that time for the two of you to talk. Yeah it’s kind of a bummer it's in the middle of the night but roll with it and see what happens.
Perhaps He will place someone on your heart to pray for. Sit, listen, and pray believing that the “Earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results” (James 5:16).
May you experience God's peaceful presence in your sleepless nights as you intentionally communicate your heart to Him through prayer.