“I can fall asleep at night”, “I can’t go back to sleep when awakened during the night”, “My mind just won’t switch off” and many similar complaints give evidence of some form of sleeplessness. The cause might range from a physical health concern to a mental/emotional/spiritual condition that needs to be addressed. That is why the Lord provides us with, respectively, doctors and pastors/elders.
Sleeplessness among believers is nothing new. Scripture mentions the important physical and spiritual influences that keep us awake at night, and provides appropriate wisdom in healthy sleeping both physically and mentally/emotionally/spiritually. But Scriptures also mentions the more urgent question of what a believer can do when in the moment of sleeplessness. What can you do at 2AM when the doctor or pastor might not answer their phones?
The Psalm mention three very different practises to make the most of lying awake at night. Psalm 63:5-8 and Psalm 119:147 show how to use the time for prayer. Psalm 139:23-24 encourages spiritual examination as you have time to mull over your own attitudes, thoughts, and actions. But the most common believer activity during a night awake, is that of meditating on the Truth.
Psalm 119:148 mentions repeating God’s promises to yourself when only you and the security guards are awake.
Psalm 16:7 is a self-counselling session from the Scriptures while lying awake at night.
Psalm 77:6 is about a time of trouble after a long period of blessing. In it the Psalmist is singing the songs of joy while awake at night worrying about his present trials. Use sleeplessness due to worry to have a moment of joy in the Lord before the new day comes with its new worries. Verses 11 and following of that Psalm give us all enough material to sing in our hearts while awake at night.
May even our sleepless moments, be used to the glory of God.