Luke 6:12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.
I’m not a night person. I quickly discovered this when I went to college. I was told to try my best and meet people and befriend them. My dorm in college was so much fun. But I don’t think any of us really slept. There would be nights that we would push all the couches to the side, and we’d have wrestling matches. One night, we actually decided it’d be a good idea to play rugby as a floor, so we matched up into teams. I don’t really remember how it happened, but someone ended up with a concussion…whoops. Another time, my RA and his roommate decided to play a prank on me. They knew that I took melatonin every night, so I was extremely docile in the night. They came into my room, and duct-taped me to one of the columns. Like seriously, I was completely taped to and couldn’t move. Though this might sound like bullying, my RA was one of my brother’s best friends, and this was his way of welcoming me to college life.
After that, I made the decision to lock my door at night…
For some reason, I lack the ability to shut off my brain at night. Throughout the day, I am able to go about my business and do the tasks at hand. But for some reason, I put my head on the pillow, and I start thinking. I think about the things that I did that day. I think about the things that I didn’t do. I think about what I’m going to do tomorrow. And I think about all the tomorrows to come. I get so wrapped up in this thinking at night that I have a hard time sleeping.
I have found, though, that I have some of my best times with God when I’m not sleeping. Though I’d much rather be sleeping, I end up spending the times that I cannot sleep by praying to God. Sometimes I’m kind of upset with him for not letting me sleep, but most of the time, I use it to pray. This isn’t to sound overly spiritual. But I know that I can spend time in prayer at night because God will meet me there, and I have an amazing example in Jesus.
All of the Gospels showcase Jesus praying, and I find this pretty interesting. If the Son of God is inclined to pray to God, then isn’t that reason enough for us to do the same? It shows us that Jesus needs time with God just as we do, and because he was very busy throughout the day, Jesus would sometimes get away to pray. Here in Luke, it shows Jesus going off in the night to pray before his decision to choose the disciples modeling the Psalms that speak of staying up through the night to pray to God (63:6, 119:148, 134).
I’m in an interesting place in my life. I have found myself staying awake more in bed and sleeping less. I have many things to be praying for, so these nights staying awake in prayer aren’t so bad. I’m tired, of course, but I know that some kind of breakthrough is on the way. I don’t know who said it first, but it was definitely in Batman that it first stuck for me that it’s darkest in the night before the dawn.
Karl Barth once said that to clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world. My life feels a little disordered at this point, but I know that these times of praying at night are good. I’m hoping for the peace that comes in these moments with God. I’m hoping for that dawn that comes.