Friday, May 21, 2010

Praying Even When You're SLEEPY

A thought about all the frustration. I was thinking regarding my prayer life. To be honest, work, having taken its load on me, is making it harder and harder for me to pray.

I've been waking up earlier... but falling back to sleep, even though I know I need to begin the day in prayer, because I just feel so tired sometimes, having tried to finish up my ministry and work the night before.

It's a cycle of frustration - a Sisyphean cycle - that accumulates every week.

So I was pausing just now, and ranting to God silently, about the idiot taxi driver... but come, who's the bigger idiot? After all Proverbs says that a man's folly ruins his life, but his heart rages against the LORD. Ok, maybe I'm not raging against God... but I realised my predilection to start blaming others for my mistakes. It's a part of my old sinful nature, and something that keeps coming back day after day, like a zombie that keeps getting up even after being headshotted for the nth time.

Then I recalled a quote by Martin Luther: "I have so many things to do today, that I simply must spend 5 hours in prayer." OMG.

And Jesus' own words: "If a man remains in me, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing." Amen.

Still, I was thinking about my desire for more sleep. But reminded that, say, if the circumstances are such that you really cannot get much sleep, then how? To that answer, I think God still expects us to pray. After all, Jesus asked Peter, James and John to stay watch with him in prayer on the night He was betrayed. But the three amigos, like all men do, fell asleep quickly while trying to pray. Jesus found them sleeping, probably did a facepalm, and went: "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

So yes, I need to force myself to pray. Not as in compulsion, but because I know I need to, even if I am physically tired. Precisely because my flesh is weak, that why I need to pray. Martin Luther said that "the flesh is wont to grumble dreadfully." Besides... I get on average 5 or 6 hours of sleep every day... so... I have no excuse for allowing my flesh to dominate me.

Hm. Pick yourself up again, Yeu Ann. "Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees." Pray without ceasing! Give the devil a breakfast bombardment! Give your soul a wake-up call! Some trust in Milo, some in coffee, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.


Robert said...

Hi bro,

just a thought. Could you perhaps find it easier to pray in the morning if you had sufficient rest the night before?

Hope I'm not coming at an angle of being judgmental or anything, but I think sometimes if we try to lump all our deadlines together and try to complete them all during the night before they are due (much like how we used to do our assignments in NUS haha) we are unlikely to be able to wake up in the morning not wanting to sleep more...

maybe you can schedule your time such that you accomplish certain number of things a day and make sure you sleep by a certain time instead of letting your deadlines decide when you should be sleeping? Just my 2 cents' worth of thought.

yeu@nn said...

Hey Robert bro! No worries! Haha. In fact really appreciate your care and concern. Haha... hmm... abt the deadlines, I think I have tried that already, the scheduling part. In fact, I really want to schedule - I prefer it that way.

But from the creativity point of view, there are times that I do creative work for ministry / work, and the script / concept simply doesn't fit in with the need at hand. So I have to work until I find the solution.

And I do programming work too. One word: debugging.

I think for such things, it's a matter of quantity versus quality, yes. I'm still feeling my way through this. It's not so easy to suggest a solution for this kind of thing - esp for those who do both creative work and creative ministry. I know a bro who serves in the same ministry team, and he's a copywriter by day and a scriptwriter by night for HopeKids. He told me that there are times he has to work for 40 hours non-stop. No sleep. LOL.

Anyway, the fact is that a freelancer will have to do much more work than a regular office worker. Yeah, he gets to drink at Starbucks while doing work, but work is work.

A thought about it. There may be seasons where you may not have enough sleep, no matter how hard you try to arrange your schedules. Family, work issues, ministry, disasters and/or other things beyond your control. What could I do then in the face of situations that are beyond my control? That's where I learn to get down on my knees and train myself to pray even when praying is hard.

Not to spiritualize the lack of sleep - I mean, it's important to get good sleep - but there are bound to be times when due to work and/or ministry, you'll have to face sleepless nights like Paul and the other apostles did. So yup, that's the angle I'm coming from in this post.

Robert said...

hi bro,

thanks for letting me know where you're coming from. I understand when there are seasons for fighting in the trenches and seasons when we smell the roses (hehe provided they don't give u hay fever!)

i'm just concerned that you had somehow left stuff to the last minute or wanted something to be so perfect you end up compromising on your physical health (remember in NUS we know a bro who erm.. wrote his essay even when it was way overdue and said the reason for not submitting on time was because he couldn't stand handing in a not so perfect piece of work? yes i know... phlegmatics :p)

Drawing reference from ur most recent post (as of this morning) of how you value quality over quantity, I can identify with that. But I think sometimes we just desire to be so 'perfect' (we carve one intricate baroque chair when all that's needed is a couple of good solid IKEA) we just let work stack up... which leads to sleep deprivation... which leads to difficulty in staying awake... which leads to more work being stacked up... ok ok u know where i'm getting at.

Hope you understand I'm not coming from the angle of criticising your lifestyle or the dedication you put into your work, but it's just that sometimes I am concerned with your lack of physical rest. :) but i'm still willing to be your alarm clock when needed! just let me know :)

yeu@nn said...

Awww. Thanks Bert. You're so sweet you make my tooth ache. =D ahaha... but thanks man. I really appreciate it!

Yeah. I ought hit the sack more often. I think that's one of the craziest things about me: I actually procrastinate on going to sleep. Bad!

Huanyan said...

I can identify with the part on procrastinating to go to bed... sometimes when I'm totally engrossed into doing my stuff (be it reading or play games), I will resist the urge to go to bed and continue until I decide that it is too late...

yeu@nn said...

Hahaha... I hear you bro! :D