Sleepless Nights

My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises. – Psalm 119:148 (NIV)

Darkness covers the house. All is quiet except for the whirring hum of the ceiling fan, and the faint barking of a distant dog.


It’s 3am, and I’m awake.


For more than fourteen years the same nighttime ritual has played out. I go to bed, pray I can sleep through the night, and then find myself awake before the sun rises.


It started while I was pregnant with my daughter Shannon. At first, I thought it was because I felt so incredibly hungry in the wee hours of the night. It was like the refrigerator held some mystical ability to call me to the kitchen, and entice me to sample the goodies it held within. Evil appliance.


However, more realistically, I thought it was also simply my body preparing for the many sleepless nights that were sure to come. It was troublesome, but expected. Either way, I fully thought I would go back to my old sleeping habits after I had settled into my role as a new mom.


Months turned into years, and my frustration grew. I was so annoyed laying awake, for what seemed like no other reason, than to rehash the day’s events, or worry over the ones that were yet to come.


Sleep had become an elusive pleasure I couldn’t quite grasp, and I was getting really tired of being tired.


Eventually, I decided to spend my sleepless hours in prayer. Occasionally my mind would wander, but for the most part, I found I could concentrate on the Lord in the dark silences of the night. Ironically, it turned into a welcomed time, but I really struggled to function during the day.


I’m not sure why, but I thought God would reward my time with him by letting me sleep better. When that didn’t happen, my irritability grew.


I stopped praying for a time, and completely wallowed in my sleepless misery.


When I reached a breaking point, and realized my wallowing wasn’t getting me anywhere, I crawled back to the Lord, and began praying again. This time, however, I didn’t focus on my desire for sleep, or for the needs and concerns of others.


I decided to spend my time calling on the many names of God, and thanking him for his promises.


It’s like sacred brainstorming. I simply say a name that comes to mind of how I know him to be. It changes every night, and it goes something like this:


You are my Peace, my Comfort, my Friend,
You are my Strength, my Refuge, my Fortress,
You are my Counselor, Keeper, and Hope,
Thank you for your mercy and grace that is not deserved,
Thank you for the sacrifice of your Son on my account,
You are my Passion, my Presence, my Purpose,
Mold me, shape me, bend me according to your will,
You are the Potter, and I am the clay,
You are Life,
I praise you for all that you are, all that you were, and all that you will be,
Take my hand and walk with me,
I will follow, I will trust,
You are my Freedom,
Free my mind, my words, and my deeds from all that is not of You,
Your love is unfailing,
Your compassion is deep,
You are my Strong Tower, the Warrior of my soul,
You are Life Everlasting, the Calm in the storm,
this life is yours,
hope filled.

Speaking words like these as I lie awake, reminds me that God is for me, and I’m never truly alone, even in the dark. It solidifies my thoughts on what is right and just, and it doesn’t give Satan an open door to work his way in.


Most nights sleep still evades me, but I take a measure of joy in meeting the Lord in the early hours, speaking to him of what I know to be his character and his promises.


Besides, I always say, “I’ll sleep in Heaven!”


Hope in Motion

  1. Do you have trouble sleeping? Share your story, and tell us how you deal with your sleeplessness.
  2. Read Psalm 16:6-8. Reflect on how God counsels and instructs even at night. When God is near, what does he promise?
  3. God has many names throughout the Bible, which name means the most to you?

11 Replies

  1. Diane

    Sometimes I think I lay awake in the stillness of the evening for God to say .”You want that hug now?”. He just wants me to himself, and in the day, I get to busy to yield. It always turns out to be Him serving me so I am willing to serve Him. He is Good!

    1. What a beautiful picture you paint – to simply relish in His loving arms, and allow Him to serve and renew us. Thank you, Diane!

  2. Elaine

    When I awake during the night I consider it my turn on the night watch. I just wait to see who the Lord brings to mind and pray. It’s a sweet time and calms my soul.

    1. That is a sweet time! Do you find it hard to stay focused?

    2. Devery Wright

      I love that, Elaine! That alone, should give the Body peace enough to rest. Bless you, Night Watchwoman.

  3. Lori Perez

    the last line that you put is exactly what I always say. I Will Sleep In Heaven.

    1. Then again, our heavenly bodies may have no need for sleep! Either way, let’s meet at Heaven’s East Gate for a nap!

  4. Devery Wright

    Sleeplessness has my trigger finger on the remote, where I flick on my “God” shows, either recorded, or not, and God is gracious enough to lull me back to sleep, with answers to things I may not even know is bothering me, but He does, and He speaks to me, about it, through these shows. Faith comes, by hearing……and so does some sleep!

    1. That’s a great solution Devery, thanks so much!

  5. Lori West

    Raye, this is such an issue that I think many women deal with on a regular basis. I find reading scripture, and prayer help quiet my mind so I can sleep. But I deal with satan messing with me during my prayer time and making my eyes heavy too! I want to mediate on scripture and just be quiet and spend time with God but satan puts me to sleep! It is frustrating. So I typically speak verbally to God so that I can keep my focus on Him. I’m still working on my ability to mediate and be quiet because I know that is what I need most with my nature to be busy.

    1. Speaking to God out loud is a great way to stay focused on him, and if you do fall asleep, I think God is quite pleased that he is your last thought before you drift off!

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