“A Good Night’s Sleep” inspirations

 

Do not try to cover more than one good day’s journey at a time.

Ann Siddal, from #15

 

In July/August 2019 I decided it was time to address my struggle to go to bed on time, and I foraged for Bible verses and prayers to help me turn over a new leaf, writing them up in a little booklet I made.

My struggles also inspired a song to share with a group of creatives who might also be trying to do too much and regularly miss out on the benefits of A Good Night’s Sleep. (Follow the link for the lyrics and a recording).

I’m still struggling to go to bed on time, but during this Lenten season I hope to make it my daily practice, drawing on my collection of Bible verses and prayers for inspiration, and maybe adding a few more entries.

I share this resource with you, aware that our struggles with sleep may have different causes but a good night’s sleep will benefit us all.

 
Please feel free to share your own inspirations in the comments.
 


#1

We can rest,
we can sleep,
we can say no to this activity or that invitation,
we can quit the exhausting work of trying to sustain ourselves,
because You never slumber or sleep.
You are faithful always.

O my soul, praise the Lord.

~ by Grace Olsen Claus, posted on re:worship (excerpt)


#2

I lie down and sleep;
I wake again,
because the Lord sustains me.

~ Psalm 3:5


#3

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.

~ Psalm 4:8


#4

In vain you rise early and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat –
for he grants sleep to those he loves.

~ Psalm 127:2


#5

My soul finds rest in God

~ Psalm 62:5


#6

May the favour of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us –
yes, establish the work of our hands.

~ Psalm 90:17


#7

All the lands are at rest and at peace;
they break into singing.

~ Isaiah 14:7


#8

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

~ Psalm 91:1


#9

Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.

~ Psalm 116:7


#10

This is the resting-place,
let the weary rest –
this is the place of repose – listen.

~ Isaiah 28:12 (adapted)


#11

In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength.

~ Isaiah 30:15


#12

I am saying this for your own good,
not to restrict you,
but that you may live in a right way
in undivided devotion to the Lord.

~ 1 Corinthians 7:35 (taken out of context, but still valid)


#13

There will be no rest day or night
for those who worship the beast and its image …

~ Revelation 14:11


#14

Lord, you put twenty-four hours in a day,
and gave me a body which gets tired and can only do so much.
Show me which tasks you want me to do,
and help me live prayerfully, as I do them.
Sharpen my senses that I may truly
    see what I am looking at,
    taste what I am eating,
    listen to what I am hearing,
    face what I am suffering,
    celebrate the ways I am loved,
    and off you whatever I am doing,
so that the water of the present moment
    may be turned into wine.

~ by Angela Ashwin, from The Book of a Thousand Prayers, #262


#15

In the footsteps of centuries of pilgrims, go now …
Consider how you may simplify your days,
so that you may travel lightly.
Be alert to all that could side-track you:
notice that which beckons alluringly,
or with apparently greater urgency,
than the pilgrim journey Christ invites.
Do not try to cover
more than one good day’s journey at a time.

Know when to stop for food and sleep,
so that the journey will not be too great for you.
Walk humbly, knowing that the goal
is not recognition, achievement or reward,
but simply to have come to know Christ
and yourself more intimately.
Be on the lookout for other pilgrims,
caring for those who limp, or fall;
those who cannot see the way forward:
pilgrimage is richer in community.
Go now: place your hand
into the outstretched hand of Jesus Christ,
allow the words of the story to guide you,
and pray for purity of heart and mind. Amen.

~ by Ann Siddall, posted on re:worship (adapted)


#16

God with us in our restlessness and wakefullness,
    give us your rest.
God with us in our sleep and calm,
    give us vision of newness.

~ by Meredith Holladay, posted on re:worship (extract)
 

Evening prayer #3


Coolhaven, Rotterdam  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

“- Night is drawing nigh -”
For all that has been – Thanks!
For all that shall be – Yes!

 

by Dag Hammarskjöld, from Markings, p. 89
 


More of/on Dag Hammarskjöld

dag-hammarskjold.net
Desiring Peace: A Meditation on Dag Hammarskjöld, by Roger Lipsey
Dag Hammarskjöld (westernmystics website)
A Reader’s Guide to Dag Hammarskjöld’s Waymarks
 

Sparks


Road worker on night shift  (Photo: Irene Bom)
 

Jesus said,

I tell you this:
if you had even a faint spark of faith,
even faith as tiny as a mustard seed,
you could say to this mountain,
“Move from here to there,”
and because of your faith,
the mountain would move.
If you had just a sliver of faith,
you would find nothing impossible.

Matthew 17:20, The Voice

 


A prayer

Hope of the World,
You rise like a shoot from a stump.
You are the Resurrection and the Life,
springing forth from what was dead and forgotten.
You are making all things new.
May Your new life spring inside us
when we are numb from the world’s despair.
May Your new life shine a path for us
when we cannot perceive taking the next step.
May Your hope spark in us like a match struck
that cannot be put out,
and may we shine bright,
for the world desperately needs it.
We pray in the name of Christ,
who is coming.
Amen.

 
— by Rev Mindi and posted on rev-o-lution.org.
 

Sister moon


Misty moon at tramstop in downtown Rotterdam  (Photo: Irene Bom)

Praise him, [brother] sun and [sister] moon;
praise him, all you shining stars.

 

Psalm 148:3 (NIVUK) / Francis of Assisi

 


Full Solar Spirituality vs Lunar Spirituality

In her book, Learning to Walk in the Dark, Barbara Brown Taylor makes a case for “lunar spirituality” and letting the darkness teach us what we need to know. She writes,

“Full solar spirituality … deals with darkness by denying its existence or at least depriving it of any meaningful attention … it focuses on staying in the light of God around the clock, both absorbing and reflecting the sunny side of faith.”

“… my spiritual gifts do no seem to include the gift of solar spirituality. Instead, I have been given the gift of lunar spirituality, in which the divine light available to me waxes and wanes with the season. When I go out on my porch at night, the moon never looks the same way twice. Some nights it is as round and bright as a headlight; other nights it is thinner than the sickle hanging in my garage. Some nights it is high in the sky, and other nights low over the mountains. Some nights it is altogether gone, leaving a vast web of stars that are brighter in its absence. All in all, the moon is a truer mirror of my soul than the sun that looks the same way every day.”

“Even when light fades and darkness falls — as it does every single day, in every single life — God does not turn the world over to some other deity. Even when you cannot see where you are going and no one answers when you call, this is not sufficient proof that you are alone. … darkness is not dark to God; the night is as bright as the day.”

(from Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor, pp 7-9, 15-16)


Prayer

Creator God,
may we see You at work in the rising sun every day.
May we see You at work in the rolling fog or the cloudy skies.
May we see You at work in the rain that falls upon the earth.
May we see You at work in the setting sun and the rising moon,
the stars that shine, whether we can see them or not.
May we know always that You are doing something new,
every moment, every day, every year around the sun.
Great is Your Faithfulness, O God,
as You faithfully renew us every day.
Amen.

written by Rev Mindi, posted on her rev-o-lution.org blog


Digging deeper

See The Sun, the Moon, and Prayer where Vance Morgan explores solar vs lunar spirituality in more depth.

Quote: “If prayer is lunar rather than solar, then everything changes. Prayer becomes a matter of reflecting the divine light into the world in whatever way that light is shining on you and in you at the time. It is not up to me to generate the light; rather, it is up to me to reflect divine reality in ways that are unique to me and represent the seasons and cycles of my life.” (Vance Morgan)

Also check out this article by Moshe Benovitz on the Jewish ritual of blessing the new moon.

Revisit the blog post, In the school of prayer with St Francis.

(song by Donovan from the movie, Brother Sun, Sister Moon)

Winter = long nights


(Photo: Irene Bom)

 

For this season of long nights and often sombre days, a prayer by Cal Wick to open us up to God’s warmth and light, and the power of resurrection.

 


A prayer

Lord,
in the midst of Winter,
when the days are cold and wind can pierce
…. remind us of the warmth of your love.

In the midst of Winter,
when days are short, dawn comes late, and dusk arrives early
…. remind us that in the darkness your light still shines.

In the midst of Winter,
when the flowers of spring still lie hidden in the earth,
when leaves are off the trees,
and the world can seem bleak
…. remind us that Easter is but a short time away.

And when in our lives
we feel as if we are experiencing a season of winter,
reach out to us with the power of your resurrection
so that we may feel the warmth of your love
and see your light
that alone can take away the darkness of our soul.
Amen

~ written by Cal Wick,
and posted on Leonard Sweet’s Preach the Story website.
 


From the blog
The Spirit does wonders
A very present help in trouble
Flowers fall, but …
 

Good night


Rotterdam  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

Some months ago I posted A liturgy of the morning by Pádraig Ó Tuama. Here is the companion piece, to launch our theme of the month, “Night”.


A liturgy of the night

On the first night God said: ‘Let there be darkness.’ And God separated light from dark; and in the dark, the land rested, the people slept, and the plants breathed, the world retreated. The first night.
And God said that it was Good.

On the second night God said, ‘There will be conversations that happen in the dark that can’t happen in the day.’ The second night.
And God said that it was Good.

And on the third night, God said: ‘Let there be things that can only be seen by night.’ And God created stars and insects and luminescence. The third night.
And God said that it was Good.

And on the fourth night, God said, ‘Some things that happen in the harsh light of day will be troubled. Let there be a time of rest to escape from the raw light.’ The fourth night.
And God said that it was Good.

And on the fifth night, God said: ‘There will be people who will work by night, whose light will be silver, whose sleep will be by day and whose labour will be late.’ And God put softness at the heart of the darkness. The fifth night.
And God said that it was Good.

And on the sixth night, God listened. And there were people working, and people crying, and people seeking shadow, and people telling secrets and people aching for company. There were people aching for space and people aching for solace. And God hoped that they’d survive. And God made twilight, and shafts of green to hang from the dark skies, small comforts to accompany the lonely, the joyous, the needy and the needed. The sixth night.
And God said that it was Good.

And on the last night, God rested. And the rest was good. The rest was very good.
And God said that it was very Good.

 
from Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community
by Pádraig Ó Tuama, p. 67-8
 


From the blog
In the school of prayer with Pádraig Ó Tuama
Do this remembering
Evening prayer #1