Sleeping and Prayer

Last night I couldn't sleep. I got maybe four hours of sleep last night. Some nights it just does not come. It gets to the point where I am saying in my brain, "I am not asleep. I will never fall asleep. Come on! Just sleep...think about sheep. Yeah...sheep. I am not asleep. I am awake, awake, awake.." Praying is usually the remedy. I know, that is sad, but for some reason praying makes me fall asleep. It takes so much thought to pray. Really, so much presence of mind. Lewis said that (and I am paraphrasing greatly) it is preposterous for Christians to pray before they go to sleep. He could not think of a worse time to pray. The mind is exhausted---it is impossible (I think for men---and this is Rachel speaking) to have normal thoughts at the moment before one sleeps.

So, while I was trying to sleep and trying to pray at the same time I am praying for myself. Then I remember the sermon the pastor from Rwanda preached on Sunday. He was telling us Americans how we all pray for ourselves all the time. It is so true and so convicting. So, naturally, I tried to pray for others. I was sleepy but not asleep so I was mixing people around in my head, having incomplete thoughts. Lewis says one of the best kinds of prayers are prayers without words---just images of what/who needs to be prayed for. It takes intense concentration to do this and of course, I was not.

Being a mother and finding time to pray is difficult. I feel like I don't know how. I read about it, but I never feel like I am fully doing this to my capacity. I don't feel guilty, just not very well-versed. I remember reading that Martin Luther's wife would put her apron over her head when she felt that she needed to pray and the kids would let her alone at that time. I thought, "what a very disciplined woman!" and then as I think of this, I remember that she was a nun and praying is so natural to her that she probably needed to take a break from praying and care for her kids! I am just saying that indeed I can be too hard on myself. I am a firm believer in the song Keith Green sang called "Make My Life a Prayer to You." ---Because it is "so hard to see when my eyes are on me."

And it is so hard to sleep with this brain in my head. Make it stop.

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