Sleepless in Bear
by Sharon Betters
It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil; for He gives to His beloved sleep.
I couldn't sleep at all last Saturday night. Sleeplessness for me is unusual. After tossing and turning, I finally gave up and tried the ultimate sleeping pill: Prayer. Saturday night and into early Sunday morning I again listed for my God who knows everything, all the circumstances in our lives as well as those in the lives of people we love.
I reminded God that He is my covenant God, He has promised to hear me and if I need wisdom, He will give it to me. Just ask. I told Him how much I love the people who are on my heart and asked Him to burden my heart with others who might not be sleeping either because of great sorrow, excruciating decisions, chronic pain, or broken relationships. Things I wouldn't know, secrets known only to Him. I fell asleep with one particular family on my mind as I asked God to give them a sense of His presence while they struggled to make sense of their own life difficulties.
Before going to church I sent a quick email to my friend, telling her God kept me awake with her needs on my heart and I had asked Him to give her strength beyond herself as she faced the day. Sunday night I read a response. Why was I shocked to learn that at almost the exact time in the middle of the night that God burdened me with her name she was facing yet another crisis? My momentary shock gave way to feeling humbled that God would give me the privilege of staying awake through the night to pray for a dear sister who could not pray for herself in those moments.
I am overcome with a deep appreciation for God's love for my friend, and that He connected me to her through prayer. Hearing God had moved me to pray at that exact moment reminded her she is His child, He is the Lord her God and He calls her by name. I am so humbled by God using me as a channel of His compassion!
Are you sleepless in your hometown? Can you surrender to the sleeplessness as a gift from God so you can pray for those He loves? When He burdens you with a specific person, will you let them know God is loving them through your prayers? Consistent, fervent prayer is the greatest treasure of encouragement we have to offer. I need to remember to offer this gift more often.
I'd love to hear your story of how God reminded you of His love for you through the prayers of someone else, or your story of how God used you as an instrument of His love, by giving you the privilege of praying for your friend. Prayer - the greatest treasure of encouragement.
Originally published in Treasures of Encouragement blog April 30, 2010
Sharon W. Betters is author of Treasures of Encouragement, Treasures in Darkness and co-author of Treasures of Faith. She is Director of Resource Development and co-founder of MARKINC Ministries, a non profit organization that offers help and hope to hurting people. Sharon enjoys quality time with her husband, children and fourteen grandchildren.
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