Friday, August 19, 2005

late nights ... part two

A comment left by Pam D. today brought another memory to the surface. She said, There's something wondrous about praying in the middle of the night ... a feeling that only you and God are awake and He is wanting to pour His heart into someone's sleeping spirit as you take His hands to pray for them.

Several years ago, when I felt that familiar nudge and rose to meet with God, I had a strong impression to repeat a favorite scripture: When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him. --Isaiah 59:19 (NKJV)

I didn't know why I felt such an urgency to speak that verse, but I said it anyway. And then I said it again ... and again. For an entire hour, my mind was completely trained on that one truth from Scripture, and all I could do was sit in the stillness of my living room and repeat the words over and over. I have never before or since felt a leading to pray that way, but it was clear on that night that God would have me do nothing else.

It was 3:30 when I stopped. Though I felt completely energized, as if I'd just taken the most wonderful nap and was ready to face my day, I also felt so at peace that I knew I'd fall asleep as soon as I sank down into my pillow ... and I did.

The next day, a friend called me. As our conversation progressed, she kept yawning into the phone.

"Tired?" I asked, laughing.

"I am," she said. "I haven't been sleeping well. I keep waking up in the middle of the night."

"Me, too," I said. "In fact, I was up last night."

"I was, too," my friend said.

I then explained what had happened the night before. "It was the strangest thing, but I felt completely riveted, completely focused on repeating those words: When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard agains him."

I heard a long pause on the other end. And then she asked, "Exactly what time were you up?"

"From 2:30 to 3:30."

The pause lengthened, and when my friend spoke again, I heard tears in her voice. "God had you up praying for me." She had awakened at 2:00 with a heart so heavy, it drove her to the bathroom floor, where she lay sobbing and trying to pray. She didn't share the exact nature of her grief. She simply said that life felt too hard; hope seemed too distant. She felt utterly overwhelmed, she said, by a flood of worry, fear and despair. Until suddenly, at 3:30, the darkness fled, the heaviness lifted and she felt awash in peace. And at the same moment that I rose from my couch and returned to my pillow, my friend rose from the floor and returned to hers.

I am often completely taken aback by the knowledge that the God who dreamed up gravity and love, who thought to put spots on a giraffe and devotion in the heart of a puppy, who named and then scattered the stars in the sky, would watch me sleep ... and wake me to meet Him ... and invite me to put my two hands next to His on the plow.

What kind of God is this?


11 Comment:

At 8/19/2005 11:52 AM, Blogger Macromoments had this to say ...

Shannon, anyone who lives long enough will live to experience grief and worry (yeah, I know we're not to worry but it happens), and those middle-of-the-night meetings with God. God is faithful. That's all I know.

At 8/19/2005 1:25 PM, Blogger Bill and Glory had this to say ...

Shannon, I HAVE to thank you for these last couple of blogs of yours. This pregnancy has me waking up so many times in the night, often unable to get back to sleep right away. So I have prayed, God has brought His Word to mind, and I have found a joy and comfort in Him that makes me laugh and cry all at once. All this time I've felt like I was knocking on my Daddy's door, waking Him up, and saying, "I can't sleep..." But it wasn't until now that I realized that HE was inviting ME to a late-night interlude with Him.

Thank you for showing me my Father's heart! *runs for Kleenex*


At 8/19/2005 3:36 PM, Anonymous Lynetta had this to say ...


What a beautiful post! It's obvious how much you are in tune with God and that your life is lived for Him.

I found myself awake this morning at 3:45. The cat woke me... or was it Someone else? :-) I was reminded of yesterday's post and had a wonderful time praying and reading the Word. I'm still getting used to the idea that God loves it when we crawl in His lap at all hours, that it's never inconvenient for Him. Thanks for the reminder that He's crazy about us!


At 8/19/2005 7:19 PM, Anonymous Carol had this to say ...

And here I was thinking these middle of the night awakenings were hormonal! Thank you for the new perspective. I think I may actually be looking forward to tonight's awakening.

Have been reading here for a while and enjoy hearing a fresh word from you when I stop in.

At 8/19/2005 10:08 PM, Anonymous OldGuy had this to say ...

A lovely post Shannon.

I like to pray when I see a sky full of stars because it reminds me that God put them there !

At 8/20/2005 8:52 AM, Blogger Gina Burgess had this to say ...

You reminded me of a story Henry Blackaby tells in his study "Created to be God's Friend". His wife woke up one night about 2AM, she felt this urge so strong to pray for their boys that she woke him up and they prayed for about an hour non-stop. The next morning, their boys called to tell of the harrowing experience they'd had the night before (about 2AM) while driving. I don't remember all the particulars, but it brings home how marvelous God's thoughtfulness is when we are sensitive enough to recognize it is Him drawing us to His lap. amen. Like Glory, I'm running for the kleenex.

At 8/20/2005 1:22 PM, Blogger Broken Messenger had this to say ...

An encouraging post, Shannon. Thank you.


At 8/20/2005 6:29 PM, Blogger Kim had this to say ...

I found your blog from Carol at She Lives. I have been experiencing a lot of waking in the middle of the night. I finally gave in and got up and now I go to my desk and write in my journal, read my bible or read another book. I end up needing a little snooze, but I'm getting reading done that I may not otherwise do.

At 8/20/2005 7:54 PM, Blogger Jimmy had this to say ...

Shannon, not meaning to be 'un-serious' about such a serious topic....but I've stayed up far too long tonight just to see you win your Battle of the Blogs. Congrats! Hope you, Pastor Dave and the rest of CCM have a very blessed Lord's Day tomorrow.

At 8/21/2005 6:42 PM, Blogger QueenBee had this to say ...

So about FOUR AM this morning when I awoke, tossing and turning, I thought about your post. I even remembered to pray but unfortunately my prayer went something like this, "God, please help me go back to sleep, i am so incredibly tired."

I wish I had the presence of mind to pull my rear out of bed and open my Bible....maybe next time!

At 8/22/2005 8:26 AM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

Right, Bonnie :)

Glory, have you not had that baby YET?? :) I imagine you're up quite a bit at night, if that's the case.

Thanks for letting me know, Lynetta. I love the thought of thousands of us up at night, all enjoying our alone time with Him.

Hi there, Carol! Thanks for the laugh (hormones!) and the nice comment.

Good to see you again, Old Guy. I love that, too--the knowledge that God put those stars there and even named each one.

Great story, Gina. I've heard others tell of similar experiences. It's such an amazing thing when God allows us to pray for a specific need like that.

Hi Brad! I've been enjoying your posts. :)

Welcome, Kim! Tell Carol thank you from me. :)

Jimmy, you nut. :) And what a good friend you are. I voted for you, too, but I didn't stay up to see whether or not you won! And yes, we had a wonderful Sunday. Thank you! Hope yours was the same.

Cindy, you made me laugh. :)


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