My new method: prayer.
This isn’t anything new. Lots of people pray before bed. But do many people pray to try to fall asleep? I’m not talking about endless requests: “God, please help me fall asleep. God, please, please help me fall asleep.” I’m talking about some heart to heart with The Eternal One.
I figure, as long as he keeps you awake, he must have reason to keep you praying.
Last night, bleary eyed from staying up late reading, I attempted falling asleep, but found myself thinking about all the things that I had to do the next day.
I decided to lay my requests before God, to get the next day off my mind. Shortly thereafter, I realized that I sounded like a spoiled little brat who calls up her parents from college and immediately launches into all the things she needs them to send in the next package. So, I aimlessly wandered through a couple “obligatory” thanksgivings and praises, but soon, I was back to fretting about my next day.
I needed some way to focus on praying, without cracking open the Book of Common Prayer. I can see how that would only keep me up later, since in no time, I’d be scribbling in the margins and thinking of new blog entries.
Then, I remembered an old acrostic, a mnemonic device to teach children how to pray, based on the letters in the word “pray.”
P=Praise: First, we offer praises to God, tell him how we’re thankful for all he’s done.
R=Repent: Next, we confess our sins to him.
A= Ask: This is the part I excel at. This is where you get to ask him for things, to make requests.
Y= Yield: Here, you yield to his will, listen to his voice, seek his direction.
In my semi-sleepy state, I figured that a 4-point chart could rein me in, so I tried it. I spent a long time telling God how thankful I was for all that he’s done in my life. I can’t remember the last time I got so detailed, maybe it was last Thanksgiving, but it was probably even longer. It felt good to dig deep and let him know how grateful I am for all the blessings in my life.
I never got to “R.” I fell asleep before I made it there. That’s okay, though. Next time I can’t sleep, I’ll start all over at “P,” and I won’t mind if I don’t make it to “A.”
“A” isn’t most important, after all.