Not so long ago I would go to bed at 11:00 or 11:30 pm (after Jay Leno), and wake up about 8:00 am. Those were the good ole days. Now it doesn't matter what time I go to bed, I wake up at 2:00 am.
I lie there wishing I could go back to sleep, and that's when it starts.....
Someone told me once that if you wake up in the middle of the night thinking about someone you should pray for them, so I do. I pray for the people I love who are having a hard time in their lives, anyone who is sick, all my children and grandchildren by name and by need.
As I pray for each individual, I begin to dream of the possibilities of their life, the jobs they could have, the things they could accomplish and the people they could reach for God, of the gifts they have been blessed with and they don't even know it. And what would happen if they just changed this thing or that thing in their life. It's like day dreaming in the middle of night. But these are the dreams I dream for them that are not necessarily their dreams and not necessarily God's plan for them.
And as time ticks by I think of someone else, and someone else, and I possibly fall asleep in between some of these as a result of trying to pray when I'm half asleep and half awake... and so it goes until eventually I fall back to sleep sometime in the early morning hours.
I started asking myself, is this really prayer or am I being a worrier? I did not misspell WARRIOR. I said worrier. I could try to make you (and me) think I am a prayer warrior staying up all night praying for people, but I have this sneaking suspicion that this is my way of spending the lonely middle of the night hours in worry. Worrying about things that haven't happened yet, things that may never happen, and imagining everyone's life the way it should be according to me. It's a middle of the night worriers' day dream.
I should tell you that I come from a long line of worriers. My dad is the king of worriers, so I guess that makes me the Princess Worrier.
Jesus asks in Matthew 6:27 -"Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" Worry will consume our thoughts causing anxiety, headaches, ulcers, chronic pain, depression, exhaustion, and if we let it, it can immobilize us.
In 2 Corinthians 10:5 the apostle Paul tells us to take EVERY thought captive. So as I got myself ready for bed last night I imagined that these prayers, wishes and dreams (and worries) that I have for the people I love were in boxes lying all over the floor of this big warehouse that was my brain, and I scooped them all up in a big net and said "Here you go, Lord. Here are my thoughts. All captive. I give them to you to do as you will."
I missed my 2:00 am usual wake up time last night. I don't remember anything until 5:30 this morning.
Philippians 4:6-7 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I'll now keep a list of who and what to pray for and do it in the morning when I'm wide awake so I can avoid my mind wondering off to worryland. And if I do wake up in the middle of the night I'll try to steer my mind toward things that don't make me anxious, like the beach, a cruise ship, and what it will be like to live in Heaven.