Sleep As A Spiritual Discipline

A child sleeping.

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Have you noticed that you doze off easier than you used to? Is staying awake in church or in meetings more difficult than it should be? Does your prayer time often lead to your eyes getting heavy?

In our fast paced and constantly stimulated society we are so used to having our mind occupied and our attention titillated that the minute our mind concentrates on one thing or has to sit still for a few moments it shuts down trying to get the rest it desperately needs. I have heard many friends at the university where I work talk about falling asleep during prayer or times of solitude and silence. There are three ways that getting more sleep would help our spiritual life:

1. Improves relationships. Most of us are grumpy when we are tired; even more grumpy than we get when we are stressed or hungry. If we were better rested, we would have more energy to handle uncomfortable situations and handle our relationships better.

2. Shows our trust in God. Many of us, myself included, don’t get enough sleep because we feel as if we need to be getting up and doing something productive. We see sleep as a hindrance to our level of achievement and success. Sleeping more means we are interested in our well-being and willing to trust God for results. We work hard but we also let go of control of every situation.

3. Improves our focus. As I mentioned earlier, if we cannot concentrate while reading the Bible or fall asleep at every moment of stillness, then we are missing out on times with God and lessening our chance at growth.

So, get a good night’s rest or take a nap but don’t drain your body of the rest it needs. Your spiritual life may be depending on it.

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