A TV ad for a certain brand of mattress points out that many of us living in these hectic pace times are sleep deprived. We often get six or less hours of sleep whether in “Motel 6” (pun intended) or on the home turf of our own bedrooms. The point of the commercial is that with their brand of mattress, we will get “a better six.” Perhaps there are alternatives.
I agree about the six or less sleep hours. At this latter season of my life, my sleep pattern is weird. Something, I suppose, which I have in common with my other aging friends. In my youth I often “slept the clock around” as my frustrated mother viewed it. At the same time, I prefer to think my wakefulness may have something to do with what the Lord wants to do with or through me.
Here’s my pattern: No matter when I go to bed, I sleep soundly only for the first several hours (my vivid dream time). I seldom sleep beyond 3 a.m. or so–I’m simply wakeful after that—not necessarily stressed or anxious or worried about anything—just awake. This is not the sleep pattern I would choose! But I accept the deviation from the norm and stay snuggled in bed in a sort of twilight zone. My spirit is awake while my body is resting, kind of relaxed and only semi-conscious. I’ve discovered that it can be a sweet, intimate time to worship and adore the Lord and draw closer to Him. Why waste those precious hours that could belong uniquely to the Lord?
Gradually I’m learning to use that half-dozing time to open myself to hear God’s voice: “Here I am, Lord. Speak, for Your servant is listening” like Samuel in the Old Testament account was told to respond in the middle of the night when he heard God call him. I’ve figured out that God may be stirring me awake or keeping me awake and subdued and docile so He can have my undivided attention. Daylight hours are too noisy with activity to hear Him clearly. He “speaks” by impressing my heart, not audibly through my ears.
I’m learning to allow the Holy Spirit to bring to my mind and my spirit whomever or whatever He wants me to pray for—even out of the blue. So I let my spirit gently float around. I call it “butterfly praying.” Sometimes with words, often only with silence and peace. Sometimes my spirit prays in mental prayer. Other times I only mention names, or recall faces, near and far, those living in heaven and those on earth. I don’t think it’s important for me to know exactly how to pray for someone. I do pray specifically for those who have shared their needs and asked me to pray. I lift up to God those who have touched my life in some way, by some encounter during that day.
I don't necessarily remember my night praying after I rise in the morning. I leave my intercession in the hands of God and trust Him to answer according to His perfect will and time. In contrast to tossing and turning restlessly trying to force sleep and ending up feeling exhausted, I don’t feel sleep deprived if I’ve invested my wakeful night hours in this way. Whether or not I had my usual six hours, as a rule I try to leave the house at 6:30 a.m. for daily