By Heather Barr, Crosswalk.com
“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.’” (Matthew 11:28)
Do you have trouble sleeping? Do you struggle finding rest? Do you dread nighttime because of the struggle—perhaps even because of a sense of agony that comes with trying to sleep?
Stresses of life, worries that cause us to fear the unknown, thoughts that get stuck in our minds.
Maybe you’re dealing with nightmares, or fears in the night that shake you and make you dread going to sleep.
Perhaps a restful night of sleep seems impossibly far away to you.
But picture this in your mind and believe it in your heart:
God sings over you. He sings songs of deliverance over you. He sings soothing songs of peace and love and victory over you as you sleep (Zephaniah 3:17).
“…when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” (Proverbs 3:24)
As a child of God, “sweet sleep” is your inheritance. You can rest in Him. He has given it to you.
Here are 10 prayerful meditations to help you sleep peacefully:
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1. When you have too much on your mind and you desperately need rest.
Come to Him. Cast your cares on Him, for He cares for you. Give whatever is swirling around in your mind to the Lord. Don’t hold onto it anymore. Release it, hand it over to Him, and let it go.
“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.” (Matthew 11:28 The Passion Translation)
2. When you feel afraid at night.
“You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly.” (Proverbs 3:24)
Fear is torment, and it’s not of God. Perfect love casts out fear!
Know that your Heavenly Father loves you. Ask Him to deliver you from fear that tries to steal your peace.
Declare His Word out loud: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
And in the name of Jesus, command all fear to go! Declare that “fear is not welcome here!”
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3)
Invite the Holy Spirit into your home, ask Him to surround you in your sleep—ask Him to soothe you and wrap you in the love of the Father. Remember that He is faithful and that He loves you beyond imagination.
“You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day…” (Psalm 91:5)
“I sought the LORD, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)
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3. When you’re feeling worried.
“My people will live free from worry
in secure, quiet homes of peace.
No matter if hail destroys the forest and the city is leveled,
you will be happy and blessed
as you sow your seed beside every stream
and loose your ox and donkey to graze freely.”
(Isaiah 32:18-20 The Passion Translation)
Cast all your worries on Him. Change the course of the thoughts trying to flood into your mind. Refuse to fear the unknown—declare your trust in Him!
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” (Philippians 4:6)
4. When you’re troubled about the darkness of this world.
We live in a dark world, but we belong to the light of the world! And He has made us “children of light”—we don’t need to fear the darkness, because He who is within us is greater than he who is within the world!
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4 NKJV)
“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4 NLT)
“But whoever listens to me will live securely and be undisturbed by the dread of danger." (Proverbs 1:33 CSB)
“He will not fear bad news; his heart is confident, trusting in the LORD.” (Psalm 112:7 CSB)
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5. When you’re feeling stressed about work or finances.
Meditate on these scriptures, and remember God is your Provider:
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26 NIV)
“For He stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save him from the condemners of his soul.” (Psalm 109:31 Berean Study Bible)
6. When you can’t quit dwelling on your mistakes.
God doesn’t want us to worry or fret about the past. He doesn’t want to “beat us up” over the mistakes we’ve made. He wants to forgive us and keep us moving forward!
If your past mistakes are troubling you, remember that no matter what happened, God forgives you, and He wants to heal your soul and mend your heart and keep you moving forward. He wants you to dwell in freedom and walk in His peace.
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1 NLT)
Ask the Lord to forgive you, and let it go. He gives us new mercies every morning!
“Return to your rest, my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.” (Psalm 116:7 NIV)
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7. When you need peace of mind.
“I leave the gift of peace with you—my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts—instead, be courageous!” (John 14:27 The Passion Translation)
Your Heavenly Father gives you peace. Breathe in His presence and know that He is with you.
Remember that His peace is a promise. Take hold of it! Let Him guard your mind with His truth. Ask Him to cover you with the “blanket of His peace.”
“In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles.” (Psalm 34:6 NLT)
“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8 KJV)
8. When you feel alone.
Know that you are not alone. God is with you. His name is called “Emmanuel”—which means “God is with us.”
“And He said, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’” (Exodus 33:14 NKJV)
“I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.” (Psalm 16:8 NLT)
As an act of faith, reach out your hand to Him, knowing that He is holding your hand in His.
“Yet I am always with you; you hold my right hand.” (Psalm 73:23 CSB)
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9. When you’re in pain.
In this life, sometimes we must endure pain. It may be physical or emotional. But experiencing pain can be part of a process the Lord takes us through where He builds in us endurance, strength, and He shows us that He is with us through it all.
When we find ourselves in pain, we can know that He will meet us there. When we’re experiencing pain, we can run right into the most soothing comfort and peace that can only come from the our Heavenly Father.
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” ( Psalm 34:18 NIV)
If you’re experiencing emotional pain, cling to your Heavenly Father, talk with Him about it, ask Him to soothe you with His love and His peace and His comfort.
If you’re experiencing physical pain, remember that our God is a God who “lies us down and restores our health” and our bodies heal when we sleep. It’s part of the way God designed it!
Whether you’re dealing with physical pain or emotional pain, know that He knows your pain, and He cares for you. Know that His heart breaks for you in your pain. But He invites you to climb into His arms. Let Him rock you to sleep in the comfort of His soothing peace, and remember what’s to come.
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 NIV)
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10. Ask God to speak to you in dreams.
One of the beautiful things about sleep is the way God speaks to us through our dreams and visions of the night.
Sleep gives a way for Him to speak to us in a deeply personal way.
“God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, ‘Here I am.’” (Genesis 46:2 NASB)
“Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night, and Daniel blessed the God of heaven.” (Daniel 2:19 Amplified)
“Then the Lord said to Paul in a night vision, “Don’t be afraid, but keep on speaking and don’t be silent.” (Acts 18:9 Holman Bible)
“For God does speak—now one way, now another—though no one perceives it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber in their beds, he may speak in their ears and terrify them with warnings, to turn them from wrongdoing and keep them from pride, to preserve them from the pit, their lives from perishing by the sword.”(Job 33:14-18 NIV)
Has a lack of restful sleep kept you from dreaming dreams? Ask God to help you to get deep, restful sleep. He desires this for you!
As an act of faith and obedience, place a lamp and a journal by your bedside, and as you ask Him to speak to you in the night, be ready to write down what He begins to show you though your dreams. Steward well, and He will give you more.
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A Prayer for Better Sleep
May you sleep in peace tonight.
May you know that your Heavenly Father is singing over you—songs of peace and songs of His love for you.
If you're afraid, know that He is watching over you, that He's guarding and protecting you.
And if you're feeling alone, know that He is with you.
And if the things of the world are troubling you, cast your cares on Him, and know that He covers you with a "blanket of peace."
Let your cares go into His hands and receive His peace tonight.
And may you dream the most beautiful dreams—dreams that come straight from His heart. And may you wake up rested, refreshed, restored, and amazed at how good and wonderful He is!
"When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” (Proverbs 3:24)
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