Declaration
Dream seeds

Tell yourself the story of Christ carrying his cross from the judgment hall to the place of execution. If you don't know the details or if you are really wide awake, read the story in Mt. 27.27-35. Read the sections before or after too if you wish. It's an incredible story of courage.

Tell it to yourself or read it a second or third time if you need to. The idea is for the story to eclipse whatever is keeping you awake because the story is stronger than that thing or that thought.

As that story captivates your mind and heart, start thinking of others instead of your own pain or predicament. A lot of other people are awake in the middle of the night too, and many of them are awake because of fear. Pray that Christ will help you spread his courage so others won't have so many sleepless nights. 

What just happened? You were wondering whether you had even enough courage to get through your own trial, and now you are praying as if you have a surplus of courage--enough to share with others and be an inspiration for them! 

 

The Courage Prayer is being answered. "Give us the courage to be crucified. Make us bold. Make us bold. Make us bold."

BTW, usually it is God who wants you to relax and sleep but God's enemy who wants stoke your fears and rob you of sleep. When the enemy realizes that you are using your wakeful time to focus on the cross and to pray about spreading the courage of the cross, he would rather let you sleep. Awake you pray. Asleep you rest from your fear. Either way, you win. 

Repeat the Courage Declaration, adapted for night use, "Tomorrow is a day of risk, and we have courage."

Repeat it calmly but stubbornly. This is more true than whatever you are feeling.

If you are musical, turn it into a lullaby and hum it.

 

Note that you are not saying you feel courageous. You are saying you have courage whether you feel it or not, and you choose to act courageously whether you feel like it or not. No soldier ever got a medal for feeling brave.

 

Your "feeling meter" cannot be trusted, especially at night, and especially if you are alone. It can give you false negative readings like a broken Geiger counter telling you there is no radiation in the area even though there is. Your feelings may say you have zero courage. But Scripture says Christ is in you, which means his courage can never be far away.


You can trust the Courage Declaration because its foundation is the courage Christ showed under torture. Nobody can call him a coward, and nobody can stop him from putting his courage into you by his Spirit. 

If you are awake because of fear about how something will turn out, turn the fear and the whole issue over to God. Don't let your mind concoct all the horrible possibilities. Focus on the certainty of Christ giving you courage for anything that comes. He's got this, and he's got you. 

This site cannot guess all the possible causes for you being awake or give you cures for them all, but the Spirit of God in you knows exactly what they are and what to do about them. If you feel like your prayers are bouncing back at you off the ceiling, remember that the Spirit is below that ceiling. And the Spirit has ears better than your mother.

The Story

Picture the risk or threat that is approaching you. That should be easy. You have probably been doing that already.

 

Now picture Christ walking into that situation, carrying his cross. How does his arrival change the situation and your level of anxiety?  

If you don't see anything right away, try the exercise in the opposite way. Picture Christ carrying his cross to Calvary, and try to put your risk or threat along his path. 

 

If that still does not work, keep picturing Christ and his cross, and see whether you can fall asleep. God may send you a picture in a dream.

If your mind wanders back to your risk, be patient. Simply picture Christ again.

 

Caution: the "Picture" method (especially when awake but even in dreams) runs the risk that you will project your own wishes into the situation. For example, if in your picture, the risk or threat is vaporized by a death ray, you can be pretty sure that idea came from Hollywood and not from God.

The pictures or dreams most likely to come from God are the ones that surprise you the most. They are also the ones that will give you a great sense of peace, but not the false "peace" or satisfaction of vengeance. 

If the "Picture" method does not fit with the way you are wired, switch back to the "Declaration" or "Story" methods in the other columns. 

  

Falling asleep while praying or listening to a sermon usually means you failed. Here are a few SYNC exercises where falling asleep is sign of success. Try these when you have trouble sleeping.

Ironically all SYNC "exercises" are more a matter of relaxing than of trying harder. As we SYNC with the courage that Christ embodied when he carried his cross, we quit gritting our teeth and start relaxing into his care. What better time to get good at these relaxing SYNC exercises than the middle of the night?  

Middle of the night

FAQs

How can an "exercise" be more like relaxing than working harder?

Like dancing or running, SYNCing goes wrong if we try too hard. We have to relax while doing SYNC exercises, and they relax us as we do them.

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