Sometimes I awake at 3 or 4 in the morning and just cannot sleep. I seem to be nervous or anxious about the upcoming day. That has always seemed to be my nature. I surmise that it is God who gently wakes me to hint that He wishes to sit with me now.
I quietly (I do not wish to disturb the rest of the sleeping family members) make my way downstairs to the living room, sit on the couch, set the Contemplative Outreach timer app on my iPhone for 20 minutes and begin my silent prayer sit.
God has quieted, dissolved and soothed my previous nerves and anxiety. I never seem to have difficulty falling back asleep for the next few hours until it is time for me to get up and begin the day.
When I awake, I count this earlier session as my first silent prayer sit and begin my day: prepare for the workday or relax with my wife and children if it is a weekend morning. (Normally my centering prayer sit is the first thing I do before I begin my day.)
My second sit is usually later in the early afternoon. I need this second sit. It refills my emptying reservoir. I do not like to miss it. It soothes and calms me. It helps me to continue my day.
I have learned to trust the gentle nudges and prompts of the Spirit. Some people need regular rhythms and times to do their daily tasks. I trust God will nudge me if my sit needs to be a few hours earlier than it normally is. God has reasons for me to sit with Him a bit earlier. So earlier it will be.
If I ask God about my anxiety and worry, I imagine He would answer something like this, “Richard, I love you. You can come to me whenever you are worried, anxious or nervous. It does not matter what time it is. I do not want you to lie awake and be restless. Come to me and I will give you rest. Let me love you, soothe you, calm you and hold you in my arms.”
I encourage you to trust the nudges and prompts of the Spirit. If God also wakes you up at 3 or 4 in the morning, trust Him. Gently arise. Head to a comfortable place where you can sit and begin your silent session with God.
God loves you and is delighted that you have chosen to trust that He too will calm your inner worries, anxieties and nerves.
The Path of Centering Prayer: Deepening Your Experience of God by David Frenette
Becoming an Ordinary Mystic: Spirituality for the Rest of Us by Albert Haase, OFM is now available.
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