Today, we continue with our weekly input from Lucy Oyelade.
‘In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.’ (Psalm 4:8)
We’re having a break from Psalm 119 this week, mainly because I’ve been reflecting on something else that has been coming up recently.
Who here is tired?
I’m starting to wonder if this is what adulthood is – when someone says, “How are you?” you have to reply, “Yeah I’m OK thanks. Just a bit tired.” It’s everywhere. It’s chronic. But why? Modern life has its distractions, but that feels like an easy thing to blame. I wonder if maybe we’re seeking the wrong kind of rest.
There is a song I learnt as a child growing up in church, based on Psalm 4:8, which has come back to me particularly this week (you can listen it here, skip to around 18.41
I will lie down and sleep in peace. For you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
It’s simple. It’s beautiful. It’s direct. The Psalmist sounds so certain that they will not just sleep, but they will sleep in peace and in God’s safety. They don’t ask for a perfect 8 hours a night, or for an ideal temperature, Egyptian cotton sheets, or for a podcast of whale noises. They state, simply, that they are going to lie down and sleep in peace, because God is a good God who takes care of us.
I had a child who did not sleep – I know many of you have experienced (and are still experiencing) the same. We prayed every single night that he would sleep for just a few minutes longer before waking. I prayed, Raph prayed, Tali prayed. I prayed while feeding, I prayed while rocking, I prayed while pacing. When the baby was no longer a baby and learnt to talk, he started praying himself that he wouldn’t wake up, because it had been an integral part of our nightly prayer for his entire life! I’ve never been more disheartened in prayer, friends. Because nothing seemed to happen. I was up so often that I started my business and did all the courses and paperwork during the night, because it was better than being miserable thinking how tired I was and how I wished my eyes were closed. The less I thought about it, the better I felt.
I now wish I’d been praying for something else. Not more time asleep, but more time resting in God. More time just looking on his face. If I close my eyes and just take a few minutes focusing on Jesus, I open my eyes feeling better, even when I haven’t been asleep. If I use this psalm to pray before I sleep, and go to sleep with my eyes on God, the quality is different. It’s biblical to rest, but the challenge is to rest more biblically.
If sleep is eluding you, or your kids, here is another song that comforted me as a child. May it bless you today.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week and how has this helped you / affected your life?
3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER
Please read Mark 11:15-17
What have you been most inspired or challenged about during this Praying Together series?
What would it look like for a local church to be a house of prayer for all nations?
How can we each play our part in building a church community that has prayer at the heart of all that we do?
SIV - Pray together as we seek to be witnesses in the communities that God has put us into.
Pray together - Spend some time in prayer together. Ask the Spirit to guide you and pray and you feel led.