Open Eyes, Praying Heart


“My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.”  Psalm 119: 148



We’ve all struggled at one time or another with a sleepless night or two. Too much caffeine, too much noise from the neighbors, or a too-long to do list. The reasons are many.  Sometimes there is no reason.

We can make ourselves do many things: get up every morning, cook dinner, grade math, pay bills, do laundry. But we can’t make ourselves sleep—in fact, the very process of trying to force sleep can produce adrenaline that does just the opposite—and difficulty sleeping is not unusual. According to the American Sleep Association, “Insomnia is the most common specific sleep disorder, with short term issues reported by about 30% of adults and chronic insomnia by 10%.”

Insomnia used to bring frustration. Rather than wasting time trying to sleep, I would hurl myself out of bed and balance the checkbook, grade some papers, or clean a bathroom. No point squandering awake time. (Type A much?)

But as I’ve grown older—and, hopefully, a skosh a wiser—I’ve learned to just embrace the awake time with peace and prayer. The stillness and darkness of the night coupled with the absence of sound and visual images, means my heart can be more attuned to my Lord.

I begin with praise. I regale His character traits. You are El Shaddai, God Almighty … all powerful, unchanging, strong, capable, solid, forceful, you are the boss! You are El Roi, God who sees me. You see everything that is happening in my life. You are Immanuel, God with us.  You are not just the God of “up there” but the God of “down here.” Because you have walked this earth in human form, you know how this feels.

I remember God’s promises and remind Him (and myself) of each as they come to mind:

  • You promised to be with me always. (Matthew 28: 20)
  • You came to give abundant life. (John 10: 10)
  • You promised to equip me to do what you call me to do. (I Thessalonians 5: 24)
  • You promised to provide the harvest if I don’t give up. (Galatians 6: 9)
  • You promised to do exceedingly and abundantly more than I can ask or imagine—and I have a big imagination! (Ephesians 3: 20)
  • You promised to trade with me – my worry for Your peace. (Philippians 4: 6-7)

Sometimes, I ask Him, “Who should I pray for, Jesus?” Often, of course, that means praying down the list of my precious ones: my hubby, the children, their spouses, my GRANDchild. Then my mind wanders in freedom. In the darkness, I’m not limited by a church prayer list or a bullet list from an email. I can pray as the Lord leads. We are in tandem; He leads, I follow. It’s precious and peaceful, an unhindered and unbridled approach to prayer.

My eyes may be open, but my heart is praying.


Laura Macfarlan

Besides her Cross My Heart Ministry, Laura also writes for A Reason for Home School. This devotion is a repost from A Reason for Homeschool.