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Finding Faith in Insomnia

Scripture and tips for nights when you can't sleep.

By Grace Fox, Vancouver, British Columbia

As appeared in

I reflect at night on who you are, O Lord, and I obey your law because of this. Psalm 119:55 (NLT)

Have you ever stayed awake at night when your brain wouldn’t slow down despite your body feeling exhausted? I have.

I often lie awake for hours on the night before an early morning flight too. A nagging doubt says I’ll sleep through my alarm, so my subconscious reacts as though I’ve injected it with caffeine.

Insomnia wracked my body for nearly four months following leg injuries. That period provided opportunity to pray during the night. It also tested my ability to control my thoughts when I couldn’t sleep. This was critical, for allowing dark thoughts to run amuck would have meant drowning in a pool of self-pity, fear, or even anger.

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Hour after hour, night after night, I had to reel my thoughts into a positive place–focused on the Lord. I meditated on Scripture verses, stopping to ponder key words and visualizing what they meant.

I prayed for my husband, kids, grandkids, and extended family members. I prayed for friends far and near, for the Church, for our country, and for missionaries.

Conversing with the Lord during those sleepless nights deepened and sweetened my faith. So did fixing my mind on the character of Christ. Thinking about His attributes, such as holiness, compassion, boldness, and wisdom, caused me to realize afresh how marvelous He is, and that He deserves all my affection and praise.

The next time sleep evades you, embrace it as an opportunity to focus your undistracted thoughts on Christ. Meditate on Who He is and trust Him to deepen your faith as a result.

Faith Step: What character quality do you admire most about Christ? Find a Scripture that extols this quality. Write it on a recipe card (for spiritual nourishment) and then put it on your nightstand so you will have easy access to it the next time you can’t sleep at night.