by Pastor Tim Burt
Early on in my Christian walk, I had created a discipline to get up early and spend time with the Lord reading His Word and praying. It's been an almost daily routine for most of my Christian walk. It's not legalistic and God wouldn't be mad at me if I didn’t do this. I do this simply because want to give Him the first part of my day. In doing so, I believe I'll find God's grace to help me no matter what the day delivers to my doorstep—that I'd be blessed in all my doing.
I want to share a short life-changing story that radically helped me with my sleep, daily direction from God, and my intimacy with Him!
One morning I woke up suddenly and early—much earlier than normal and far too early to get up! It was like a switch was flipped. I was instantly wide-awake with my brain on overload. I found myself thinking about a large event with countless details that I was in charge of. I knew I wouldn't be going back to sleep so I got up to read my Bible and pray. Although I was trying to keep my mind focused on what I was reading and praying about, I wasn't succeeding. My mind kept drifting to thoughts about the event that woke me up to begin with. I apologized to the Lord for being so carnal that I couldn’t keep my mind on Him. Suddenly I felt the Lord speak to me. He said, Tim, you regularly talk with me and ask me to help you with what you are doing. And you ask me to bless all you put your hand to. Your mind isn't filled with carnal thoughts. You've been praying and worshipping me and praying in tongues. These thoughts you're having are from Me. I'm trying to tell you how and what to do regarding the event you're thinking about.
I was in shock as I heard these words in my heart. Then the Lord continued, I 've been trying to help you, but you think its you being carnal and distracted. Instead of receiving my help, you're suppressing my help. From now on, get a pad of paper or a journal and bring it with you to prayer time. When you have times like this, write down what I show you regarding those thoughts that are filling your mind. You'll see that I am giving you answers and solutions. And by writing them down, you won’t worry about forgetting them. Once you've written them down, come back to reading, praying and worshipping again. You won't feel the same distractions and you'll have greater intimacy with me and more peace.
I instantly did this! I got a piece of paper, wrote down what I thought the Lord was helping me think through, and then went back to spend time with Him. And you know what, I then got sleepy and went back to bed and had a great two more hours of sleep!
This was a monumental paradigm shift wonderfully affecting three things—my sleep, getting direction from the Lord, and greater intimacy in my prayer time. God was helping me in the details. Wow! From that point on, I did what He instructed. It brought fresh insight to Philippians 4:6-7 NLT which says, “Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
I no longer allow sleepless nights to become my norm or to dominate my life. But when I do wake up in the middle of the night, I handle it in the way the Lord taught me. It turns into an awesome time of thought and prayer. I jot down what's on my mind, pray over it, let go of it. Then I either go back to sleep or get up and spend time reading God's word and praying. And, I don’t worry about losing sleep either. I just plan a short nap or an early bedtime the next night and pray and ask for God's grace and strength to get me through that day with joy! Sometimes, those turn out to be the best days of all!
God will walk with you through the details of your life as they unfold, if you will learn how He communicates with you. It's worth learning. It's worth having faith in His grace to speak to you and help you. It's a great joy to watch God turn the Hell of sleepless nights filled with anxiety, into nights of guidance, intimacy, and peace with Him. To have such a loving, kind Savior and intimate Father is a glorious wonder that I praise Him eternally for!
Matthew 11:28 (Message Bible) “Are you tired? Worn out?... Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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