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Devotions in the Dark

What’s a restless mother to do at 2 a.m.? Pray, of course.

One of the kids had a nightmare last night and woke me up. I didn’t mind that, though I wasn’t wild about the insomnia that set in afterward. Those wee hours of the night have a way of magnifying every minor worry in my head, instead of magnifying the Lord.

So what’s a restless mother to do at 2 a.m.? Pray, of course. Except in the whirlwind of worry, it’s hard to keep my brain still long enough to string two thoughts together. Which is why, when I’m awake in the middle of the night, I always return to the prayer Jesus taught us.

I name someone on my prayer list. On his or her behalf I begin, “Our Father, who art in heaven…”

I get distracted.

I begin again.

I get distracted. But it’s easy to restart, because the words aren’t mine alone; they’re God’s.

When I finally say “Amen,” I move to the next name on my list. Often by the time I’ve prayed for four or five people, I’m asleep. It’s as if whatever (or whoever) is keeping me awake would rather have me dreaming than talking to God. And even if I don’t drift off, at least I’ve tossed the turbulence of the night into a different role: one that brings light into the world.

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