A few months ago I kept waking up in the middle of the night. I’d wake up every night at either 3am or 5am, and lie in bed for about an hour trying to get back to sleep.
I mentioned this to someone and they said to me, that I should use that time to pray, because maybe God is putting something on my heart and that’s why I’m awake. So I did this. I did this for a few nights in a row, and then I started to wake up less frequently, and then not at all. (Until my alarm went off anyway, I’m not still asleep.)
I didn’t pray for anything specific, I prayed for things going on in my life, family, friends, people at work, people at church; whatever came into my head in the small hours of the morning, I prayed for. Once I made the decision to use the time for prayer, I don’t think I prayed for sleep or rest at all, but eventually, that is what God gave me.
It’s funny how we think about God. I always think of Him like a person. I think His reactions will be like my reactions to situations, or another person’s reactions. It’s such a fundamental thing to get wrong, but I think everyone does it!
Matthew 7:7-8 says “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Psalm 37:4 says “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
We are specifically told that if we really want something in our hearts, we just have to ask God for it and He will oblige. Obviously there is more depth to it than just that, we can’t say “God, I really want £100”, and He’ll pop the cash in our bank account. The requests in question are ones in line with God’s will and desires for us. He is our Father after all, He won’t give us something that will ultimately harm us, He wants us to be happy.
A few months back when I was struggling to sleep, I think I had a lot on my mind, and it was stressing me out, without me really realising it. By waking up in the middle of the night, I was able to pray about things, and bring them to God, and hand them over to Him. By doing that, I was then able to sleep again, resting in the knowledge that God is bigger than my problems, and bigger than everything in my life, so I didn’t need to worry about them.
This morning, I woke up at around 5am, but not because of anything going on inside my head, this time, the dog was barking downstairs. It made me think back to when I used to wake up, and how, despite losing the sleep, it was actually nice to spend that time with God, laying everything out at His feet. Ultimately, it brought me closer to Him.
I started praying this morning when I woke up, but I’m pretty sure I fell asleep half way through a prayer. I then woke up at 6.30am as my phone buzzed, but again, went back to sleep. I then woke up at just after 7, but started thinking about prayer, and it made me think about God’s promises, I didn’t go back to sleep after this.
I felt like God was prompting me to share what I wanted from Him. Initially I thought “He’s asking me to identify the desires of my heart, because we have to ask for what we desire.” Yesterday I heard the story about when Jesus healed a blind man, but before He healed him, He asked what he needed to be healed. He knew what needed to be done, but it’s about having to ask God for what you want, inviting Him into the situation, and needing His help, rather than just leaving Him to fix your problems. God wants a relationship with us, not just to run to Him for help constantly.
The verse from Psalm 37 sprang into my mind. God has already said He will give me the desires of my heart. That is God’s promise to me. That’s the only promise that I need to list. He is willing to give me anything I desire. But what on Earth could I ask God for? He’s already given me everything! He’s given me love, He’s given me purpose, He’s given me life, and life eternally. That’s way more than I could ever ask for! Yet, He still wants to give me more.
It made me think seriously about what the desires of my heart are. I’m not going to share them, because they’re pretty personal, but it’s great to identify these things in my life. Looking at the things that I really want. The things that I would regret not having done at the end of my life, or the things I would feel sad not to have fulfilled. I was surprised by how simple the list was. It’s got six things on it, and they’re really important to me.
God wasn’t prompting me to share what I needed from Him. He was prompting me to identify what I actually value in my life, and to realise what the things I desire are for myself. I don’t open up to people very easily, and I don’t think about serious things very often, so it’s good to have spent the time this morning to actually think about what really matters to me.
I really want to encourage people to think about this. Writing it down, making a list, and seeing it in front of me has been really good. Hopefully it’ll make me re-focus a few things in my life, and to seek God more in things too, because He obviously knows me better than I know myself, and knows what I need, and when; I have to trust Him, and He will fulfil the desires of my heart.