Silence for 2-5 minutes:
If your mind wanders, silently pray a simple prayer again and again, such as, "I surrender to your love" or "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me" until the Holy Spirit gives you a sense of peace and focus.
Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.
Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.
There are many who say, "Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!" You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4 is an evening prayer of David that sees the Psalmist relinquish all that is going on in his complicated life to God. By recounting all the busy thoughts that are stirring in his restless mind, David arrives at a place of peace. David can sleep, for he knows that the Lord alone makes him dwell in safety.
Sleep has always been a mystery to me that I haven't entirely solved. As a child, I hated nap time, for I never slept. I mean never! While other little cherubs in my class were lying on their mats, happily snoring away, I was staring at the ceiling, thinking that somehow, I must have entered a "purgatory for little boys." As an adult, it hasn't been much better. Sleeping six hours a night is pretty standard. Sleeping seven hours is wonderful. Sleeping eight is heaven.
A diagnosis of sleep apnea has made the hill of slumber an even steeper climb but also helps explain my exhaustion. I'm am at a point in my life where failure to sleep may bring irreparable physical harm to me. It positively affects my ability to focus and brings an odd sort of joyless cloud over any day. Rest has become a deep, spiritual issue for me.
David talks a lot about sleep in the Psalms. It makes me think it was a challenge for him, as well. Sometimes he is sleepless because he is standing vigil in prayer throughout the night watches. Other times, he is just overwhelmed with the worries of life.
David seems to be continually processing his life before God. He summons God to answer when he calls. This is bold language, but I believe that it is the language that God invites us to use. By unloading all of his concerns to God, he arrives at a place of peace and glorious sleep. I have found David's formula to be more effective than Ambien, and I commend it to you.
Psalm 127:2 maintains that "God gives to his beloved sleep." Use part of your time in prayer as a time to release all anxieties, cares and worries to the Lord. Be bold in your prayers, asking God to give a definitive answer to your cry. Ask God for the gift of deep sleep and rest.
Oh Lord, I often find it hard to articulate to you why I am restless and, at times, sleepless. I cry out that you would answer when I call. I pray that you would show me why my soul is disquieted. I pray that I would know that I am your beloved, who you give the gift of sleep. Amen!