A spiritual exercise to cure insomnia and nighttime fear

My wife can fall asleep in seconds.  But it takes me 20-30 minutes, even when I’m exhausted!  How do you redeem that time?  What can you do with those moments that pass between turning off the light, and drifting off to sleep?

Nighttime has also historically been a fearful time for me.  Both as a kid AND as an adult.  In fact, I think my fears have actually grown over the years!  I am not the master of my imagination that I would like to be.  Even being “the man of the house”, I often find myself quite afraid at night when the house is dark and silent.

The Lord blessed me with a realization of something I can DO during those frustrating and even sometimes fearful moments when all I want to do is just fall asleep: commit the time to Him in prayer.

When I feel afraid, I don’t try to marshal my own courage.  I don’t try to dispel the fears around me or within me with bravado.  I go straight to God – my Defender, my Shield, my Protection – under Whose mighty wings I run and hide for safety and shelter.

I declare that this falling-asleep time is God’s.  It’s His!  I don’t just want my mind, body, and soul to be available to God when I’m awake, only.  I also want Him to be the King & Sovereign & Redeemer & Healer of my whole person when I’m asleep, too!  My mind is going to be thinking thoughts while I’m asleep (aka “dreaming”)… and I’m not going to be in control of those thoughts, so… why not ask my perfect and loving Father to have His way in my sleeping mind?

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.  -Psalm 4:8

(This is also a great solution for you fellas who struggle with lustful thoughts at night, too.  I know, because the Lord carried me through my teenage and college years with these nighttime prayers…)

So I give God my dreams, my sleeping thoughts, my mind at rest.  I give that time to Him.  It’s His anyway!  I don’t want nightmares, lustful dreams, or even wasted time lying awake!  I want Him, His truth, His peace, His wisdom, His creativity!, His imagination to fill my mind while I sleep!  And so I tell Him all that – right there, lying in my bed, while I’m waiting to fall asleep.  I commit all my thoughts and dreams throughout the course of the coming night to Him.

I used to feel bad if I fell asleep while praying, like I had somehow insulted or offended God… I’d wake up the next morning and say, “Oh no, I fell asleep without saying ‘Amen’!  How rude!  I’m so sorry, God!”

Now, I make it MY GOAL is to fall asleep while praying!  What better place to drift off into the restful comfort of sleep than in the Presence of your loving, welcoming, protective Heavenly Father?!

Try it tonight.  Try talking and listening to God from the moment you turn out the light until the moment you fall asleep.  When you wake up in the morning, leave a comment here about how it went!  Did you receive any thoughts from Him?  Did He communicate with you during your sleeping thoughts (dreams)?  Any other observations or insights you’d like to share?

2 responses to “A spiritual exercise to cure insomnia and nighttime fear

  1. Just read this yesterday: “Dreams can be a strategic point for the Enemy since we cannot control them. Before I go to sleep, I often pray, ‘Lord, will You fill my subconscious with Your peace and love, by Your Holy Spirit?’ The Lord always gives His peaceful sleep, far more wonderful than that given by sleeping pills.” You’re in good company with Corrie Ten Boom (excerpt from Not I, But Christ)

    • Thanks for contributing to the discussion, Robin! This is a great quote from Corrie Ten Boom. In my younger years, I shied away from talking about “dreams” in a spiritual sense, having grown up in a traditional church… but the Bible is just TOO full of dreamers and God speaking through dreams to ignore it as being too “charismatic” an issue for mainstream spiritual discussion! Now I give my sleeping time to God and ask Him to speak to me through my dreams – i’d rather His voice come through my dreams than anyone else’s!

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