So, what do you do when you can't sleep at night? From time to time, I find myself awake in the middle of the night. When I cannot get back to sleep, I have a few things I try. Sometimes I will recite some verses from scripture I've memorized such as Psalm 23 or Psalm 121. Other times I will pray The Lord's Prayer. Those familiar words seem to have a calming effect on me. But sometimes I am still awake.
A few nights ago, I was still awake after trying these. I remembered reading in my daily devotions about the importance of gratitude. So, I decided to go all the way back to the beginning of my life and start remembering the things for which I was thankful. As I remembered each one, I prayed a prayer of Thanksgiving to God. Going through my whole life took a while -- maybe an hour or more. I may have even drifted off to sleep as I was praying. However, when I had finished, I experienced a sense of peace.
Last night, I found myself again awake. I went to my normal routine of scripture and prayers, but I was still awake -- so I went Plan B. I got up and went into another room, sat by the fireplace, and began reading the Bible. I had picked up Eugene Peterson's translation of the Bible -- The Message. I decided to start reading Paul's letter to the church at Rome. Paul's letter to the church at Rome is his longest -- sixteen chapters. I don't know how long it took, but I ended up reading all of Paul's letter to the Romans. I can't remember if I've actually done that before. By the time I finished, I was not only ready to climb back into bed and doze off, I felt like I had been given an unexpected gift. It seemed like the words of scripture were inside of me -- like seeds planted to grow and mature in time. Sometimes it pays not to be able to sleep!