A midnight habit

meditate in the night…My mouth will praise you with joyful lips, 
when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night.
Psalm 63:5-6

I’m trying to start this new habit. Again.

Because I often wake up in the middle of the night—and stay wide awake—I like to redeem the time after the first option fails—be still and hope I’ll go back to sleep. And the second option proves worthless—wondering about things I can do nothing about. And the third option is too crazy—planning the details of the day ahead.

But when I’m smart enough to pursue a positive option, I read; I pray; I listen to lessons. (And now and again I wake up Jeff and talk. He says he doesn’t mind. ?)

And now—the new old option againI meditate.

Well, it’s what I’m calling it anyway. I’m not sure what “meditate” means to you, but to me it means I slowly think about a verse or a progression of verses in my head, over and over.
     Seeking God in it.
     Pondering its meaning, its emotion.
     Discovering peace there in both body and soul.

Lately it’s been Psalm 145 (even though I’ve yet to get all the verses in order in the middle of the night). And Psalm 91, if the mind is clicking well. If not, I resort to the easy Psalm 23. Or the Lord’s Prayer.

I don’t do it as a trick to get God to return me to sleep—although if he chooses to give me that blessing, I’ll always accept it!—nor as a psychological technique of relaxation—but rather as a focused way of honoring Truth.

As much as I need him in the day, I also need him in the night, in the dark places, when the mind is prone to wander to uncertainties and brokenness and Satan’s lies.

It’s a gift of grace I want to accept, the Lord’s mouth to my ear.
A listening. When all is quiet. With no distractions. No schedules.
Just holy leisure.

A dependence.
     A communion.
          A delight

It’s a habit of attachment I want to keep.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
Psalm 19:14

* * *

At Ann’s we’re prayerfully considering:
The Practice of Making a Habit

What works for you?
How and when do you quietly meditate on God’s word?

18 comments:

Barbara H. said...

I don't usually have too much trouble falling back asleep, but if I do I usually turn the radio on low to the Christian radio station. Or sometimes I'll pray or think. I've been thinking about needing to get back to memorizing. I can often remember verses memorized years ago once I get started on them -- though I have trouble remembering the reference. But I haven't memorized any Scripture in years.

Erin said...

I use the time I'm doing "mundane" things to meditate on memory work- folding laundry is wonderfully repetitive, and that's exactly what I need when working memory- repetition. :)

Graceful said...

This is good Lisa. I don't meditate on particular verses. I pray, yes, but I have not tried meditation. You inspire me here today!

Craig said...

First, as a person who never sleeps – I get it.

Second. I can tell it’s no trick – I can see your heart for God. I don’t have a set time – but I still do lots of it – I love doing it – it’s my “fun”. The practice of my new habit though – that’s hard.

Thank you much for sharing this – and to you and yours I really do pray blessings today.

Cherry said...

Beautiful thoughts ... thanks for sharing. I often do the same when awake during the night, or even more so, when I wake up extra early. The perfect way to start out the day ... talking with Him, and listening to His thoughts. I am focusing on memorizing verses each week this year ... you have reminded me to use this time for that, as well.

Lisa notes... said...

I like to hear what you all are doing too. Isn’t it amazing how we can recall scriptures from long in our past? And how God can use any hour of the day (or night!) to remind us of his goodness? We are blessed.

Nancy said...

I am all too familiar with those middle of the night wanderings, those times when the lies echo so loudly. Good for you, embracing this time as gift, to practice this new/old habit. I'm definitely a hymns at midnight gal--so thankful I am well-grounded in the old-timey gospel hymns. Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine!

Brian Miller said...

i have been there myself and my son as well...have taught him a few scripture and we made cards together that he can pull out from beneath his pillow in those moments...

Lisa notes... said...

Nancy,
You are right: Hymns are another great gift of remembrance in those wee hours. I find that I can often remember the old hymns from when I was a child easier than I can remember something I learned this year. Yes, “Blessed Assurance”—I’ll probably be singing that the rest of the night now. :-)

Brian,
How wonderful that you are gifting your son in this way…

Donna said...

Midnight meditation as "a focused way of honoring Truth." - This post is rich, Lisa. When I find myself awakened in the middle of the night, I generally pray or rehearse grace gifts from the Lord. I like the practice of meditating on Scripture and will give it a try!

Heather said...

That IS a good habit!
I often have several names pop into my head to intercede for at that time of the night. Often, the names are of people I haven't thought of for a long time so I know the Holy Spirit is placing them on my heart. Yes, if we look at it this way... the meditation and such... the wakefulness doesn't seem as daunting.
Thanks for stopping by as well!

Heather

Mama Abby said...

this is like 'the night watches' the psalmist talks about and it is the same thing I try to remember to do when I'm awake and can't get back to sleep!

my twin sister said that is when she first memorized a psalm to help with this...I agree, even if you don't get back to sleep it is so good to be meditating in these dark night hours

Renee Ann said...

I, too, wake often in the middle of the night. I'm not much good at Scripture memory during those minutes (or hours), but I try to pray for all the folks who so desperately need it and various ministries. I wish I could get by with less sleep and so accomplish more during that time. And as you say, the focus on God's work in our lives keeps the doubts and lies away . . . Thanks for this post. I'm visiting from A Holy Experience linky list. Blessings!

alittlebitograce said...

that's a good idea! normally i try to pray or make up stories, but reciting my memory work is an excellent idea.

Bev said...

i do this very thing if i wake in the middle of the night...i just think of a verse, repeat it over and over, and 9 times out of 10 it soothes me, and i fall back to sleep....

Musing of a Patched Heart said...

I really love this post I have vivid dreams sometimes as well as nightmares and the only thing that will bring me peace is the word of the Lord or praise songs. Thank you for sharing. I too am creating a new habit. Blessings may it be a fruitful one.Heather

emily wierenga said...

lisa, as someone who's battled insomnia, i really appreciated this post. i long for God to be woven into my nightime, as into the fabric of my duvet. i long for my dreams to honor him in truth. i think i need to meditate. what a gift you are, friend.

simon said...

God requires His followers to meditate on Him day and night. The blessings that flow from having such a close relationship with God is awesome!

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