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Listen while you read: "Gentle Jesus Meek And Mild"1 (Lyrics)
2 Corinthians 11:28 – Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. (NIV)
Like most pastors, I often wake up in the middle of the night thinking about and worrying over people in the congregation that I serve. I guess that other professionals — doctors, teachers, nurses, psychologists, social workers, and counsellors — experience the same kind of sleepless nights. Like them, I carry around in my heart and mind the many circumstances, issues, and even secrets that the people under my care have shared with me. At times, those burdens are hard to carry, so at night, I sometimes lose sleep by worrying about the church folks.
The good thing about this is that I also get some quiet time to pray for their situations. During the day, there is a lot going on, and finding a quiet place or time can be hard to do. However, in the wee small hours of the morning, I can quietly come to God to pray for the healing, help, or wholeness that people need. I can whisper their names to God and ask for strength, guidance, and grace to be given to them. Usually, when I have about finished my prayers, sleep begins to drift over me, so I can return to my bed and get beneath the warm blankets.
When I read today's verse from the apostle Paul, the first thought that crossed my mind was that "He gets it." We tend to think about Paul being a fearless preacher who faced many dangerous and life-threatening moments in his ministry. But he was also a pastor who had a heart for the people whom he met — this is why he writes of the daily pressure that he endures because of his concern for all of the churches about which he cared. I believe that Paul, too, had some sleepless nights and quiet moments of prayer for the church folks whom he knew.
Maybe you've been waking up at night because of family, work, school, or health issues. Perhaps you are worried about money or concerned about the future. Let me humbly suggest that you use those sleepless times effectively by seeing them as sacred moments when the Holy Spirit is calling you to pray. I think that you'll find an answer to your problems and a much better sleep after praying.
Points to ponder: What concerns do I presently have? When and where can I quietly pray about them?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, when we have sleepless nights because of our current issues and prevailing worries, help us to turn to You quietly in prayer. Enable us to share deep concerns with You and sincerely to seek Your guidance and grace, strength and healing. In Your holy name, we quietly pray. Amen.
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So true, John.
Thanks, John. I also find that middle of the night sleeplessness is a good time to pray.
Well said, John and spirit-driven from your personal experience. Helps me. Love to you in God’s work today.
Thank you for your devotional, “Sleepless Nights”.
God bless you as you continue to write for Him!
Another great devotional. Thank you for sharing your good advice and praying for others.
Thank you, John, for sharing your sleep struggles for I’m sure many can relate. When I have a “yo-yo” night, my prayers do tend to waft heavenward, too. Again, thanks for sharing your pastor’s heart with us. Blessings.
Thank you for your devotional, John. When the title, ‘Sleepless Nights’ came up on the computer screen, I thought, “Wow, that’s what happened to me last night. I was worried about a loved one and couldn’t sleep long.” It is a good time to pray for people, as you suggest. Thanks for the piece.
Excellent advice! Talking to God can be at any time, but in the quiet of night surely makes for a peaceful atmosphere to present our requests about those on our heart.
Blessings for the thoughtful writing.
Been praying for my husband for years. He had a lot of pressure earlier this year, which caused him to remember the Billy Graham rallies in Glasgow over 50 years ago. He kept asking himself, “Is the Jesus story a myth, or a must?” He “made a decision” and now reads the DD every day.
Yesterday, he shared this with two friends. For a Scottish man, this is BIG!
All power to you in prayer and your ministry!
Prayer during the night gives me peace because God then takes over what is worrying me.
Yes, I do have some concerns and I do pray about them in the still of the night, when I can’t sleep.
Thank you for writing.
Dear John Stuart,
Thank you for your care and prayers. May I pray for many in all the churches of the world, especially those hurting mentally and physically and those who have never heard the good news of forgiveness through Jesus Christ who took their sins upon himself on the cross. We pray that the work and favor of our Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the seas. In Jesus’ name Amen.
John, thank you for this message. I have been using it for a number of years. Sometimes when I wake up after praying I realize that I didn’t finish and I need to continue.
Thank you for your insightful messages.