The Christmas celebrations are all over for another year. We have had our presents. We enjoyed the get together with friends and loved ones. The New Year arrived with a bang, or maybe this year just a whimper. The decorations are packed away for another year. Many of us will have made resolutions and some of us will, by now, have already broken them. But are we still filled with the peace that the angels promised so recently?
Many of you will know by now that I have insomniac tendencies and may even have received emails from me that say they were written at odd hours of the night. But of all the things that keep me awake it is rarely because I am worried. In fact unlike many people my natural tendency is to shut down and sleep when I am really worried about something.
Many of you though may be more familiar with worry being one of those things that keeps you awake; you may know those times when it is 3am, the house is quiet, your family is asleep, it is warm but it is dark, and you should be asleep too. However, your mind is racing, your heart is pounding and worries are overwhelming.
It might be thinking about the unexpected things of tomorrow that will find you unprepared, or it may be an area of concern —financial (the presents have to be paid for now), relational (should never have argued with Uncle Bert about the turkey), or employment.
You may even find yourself temporarily in a place where you are out of hope and out of peace. There is something about this part of the night that seems to magnify all of these problems, even for someone like me for whom the middle of the night is a part of regular life, things seem different at 3am and I am not sure exactly why that is. Maybe that is why the psalmist said "He guards us from the flaming arrows at night." I am convinced that we need God's help, not only when we are alert and awake, but even when we are sleeping. As you get ready to go to sleep, I think that it is a great thing to end the day in prayer. It has been said that God works the nightshift and it is so true.
In the “Sound of Music” Maria Von Trapp sings “let’s start at the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start” I found that when ending the day with prayer, the best place to start is back at the beginning of each new day. Start your day in prayer, committing your decisions, your challenges and whatever you are going to face that day to the Lord. Then, as I suggested, end your day with prayer as well. In each instance, our prayer could be as simple as, "Lord, here it is. I commit it to You."
I am reminded of a quote from Martin Luther, "Pray and let God worry" I like that. Not that God worries, but the idea is that we should pray about it, rather than worry about it. Is there something troubling you? Is there something eating away at you? Bothering you? Irritating you? Causing you to be afraid? Pray about it, right now. Simply say, "Lord, I can't handle it, please take away the worry."
Philippians 4:6 says, "Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything. The peace of God that passes all human understanding will keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus."
So try and worry less and pray more, you will sleep, and live much better.