Have you ever fallen asleep in church? If so, you probably regard that as an embarrassing failure. Here are a few SYNC exercises where falling asleep is sign of success. Enjoy!
All three exercises below have the same aim, to focus your thought and your heart on the glorious return of Christ. As we SYNC with that, we relax. The turbulence in our minds and hearts dies down. That's the natural effect that glory has on us.
Christ's return is out of our control, so why do we have to spend so much emotional energy trying to be in control of everything in the meantime? Hand tomorrow over to the Coming King. Sleep so you enter tomorrow rested and able to respond to whatever comes.
Ironically all SYNC "exercises" are more a matter of relaxing than of trying harder. What better time to get good at these relaxing SYNC exercises than the middle of the night?
Repeat the Glory Declaration, adapted for night use, "Tomorrow is a day of the Coming King, and we will see his glory dawning."
Repeat it calmly but stubbornly. This is more true than whatever you are feeling.
If you are musical and you won't wake anyone, turn it into a lullaby and hum it.
Note that you are not saying you see the dawn. It's the middle of the night! But you are making a faith declaration that you will see his glory dawning.
You can say that because he promised it over and over. He said the kingdom was arriving, that is, God's reign is beginning or dawning. If you echo that, all you are doing is saying you believe what he already declared. Why not?
Notice that this is not a declaration about how you feel right now. 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 light meter can tell you there is no light in the area even though there is.
No matter what feelings are washing over you right now, the declaration is a declaration about tomorrow. Isn't it tomorrow that is keeping you awake? Take control of tomorrow by pronouncing the Glory Declaration over it.
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 and beauty of Christ's return. Let that vision drive out your fear. 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.
Tell yourself the story of Christ returning on his white horse as King of kings and Lord of Lords. If you don't know the details or if you are really wide awake, read the story in Rev. 19.1-16. If you are still awake, read chapter 21 too--a peaceful vision.
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 they have no vision or hope. Pray that Christ will help you radiate hope so others won't have so many sleepless nights.
What just happened? You were wondering whether you could get enough quiet inside to go to sleep, and now you are praying as if you have a surplus of hope and peace--enough to share with others and be an inspiration for them!
The Glory Prayer is being answered. "Light up our faces with the glory to come. Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine."
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 Christ's return and to pray about spreading the hope of his glory, he would rather let you sleep. Awake you pray. Asleep you rest from your turbulence. Either way, you win.
If any particular situation or issue is keeping you awake, picture yourself in the middle of it. That should be easy. You have probably been doing that already.
Now picture Christ's glory shining into that scene as if he himself is rising above the horizon and seeing what is going on. He descends from the eastern sky. What does he say or do when he arrives beside you in the middle of it? 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 coming back to rule the world, and try to put your situation into that scene.
If that still does not work, keep picturing Christ and his return on the clouds, and see whether you can fall asleep. God may send you a picture in a dream.
If your situation takes over your mind and you lose sight of Christ, 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, Jesus seems to be a waiter bringing you food and drinks at poolside, you can be pretty sure that idea is not God's idea.
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" of comfort and self-indulgence.
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.
Middle of the night
Rewrite for Life Season
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.