About a week and a half ago our eight year old, Jake, started having nightmares. I remember the first time I heard his little feet scurrying across the wooden floor in our kitchen and then feeling him leap onto our bed in the wee hours of the morning. He shook Bob awake and I heard him whisper rather loudly, “Dad, I’m scared!” I vaguely remember Bob getting back into bed a bit later and me asking if Jake had settled down when I heard the now familiar thud of feet on the kitchen floor. I heard Jake scurrying back into our bedroom, now to my side of the bed, saying, “Mom, I’m still really scared and I can’t go back to sleep.” It happened multiple times that night and continued on for the next several nights much to mine and Bob’s dismay. After several continuous nights of very little sleep, both Bob and I realized our patience was quickly wearing thin. By the fourth night, we were at our wits end, both hoping that this would be the night we would all gain a good night’s sleep. After conducting closet and under-the-bed checks, putting the dog in Jake’s room, giving him a few special stuffed animals to cuddle with and talking at length about what was bothering him, I finally came up with a new solution that we probably should have started with in the first place, prayer.
That night when we were tucking Jake into bed, I told him that I thought we should tell Jesus how scared he was and ask that He take the fear out of Jake’s heart and mind so that he could get a good night’s rest. We said the prayer together, and whether it was a direct result of that prayer or the dose of Benadryl that we happened to give that evening for a flare-up of his itchy eczema, I give the good Lord two big thumbs up for hearing us.
Jake slept that night and has been sleeping soundly every night since. Each night at bedtime it’s been the same routine, adding a prayer thanking God for the rest He provided the night before and asking for him to watch over Jake through the night. Last night as we were tucking both kids into bed, Jake and I had prayed “the prayer” and then he said so innocently, “Mom, we’ve been saying that prayer every night now, do you think God is getting tired of hearing it?”
It was nice for once, to know a definite answer to his question. I smiled and said, “No honey, He never tires of our prayers. He may not always give us an answer right away or even the answer we want, but He never tires of hearing from us. Jesus is our friend and we can always confide in Him.”
Later that evening, after the kids had been asleep for a few hours, I thought some more about Jake’s question. I recalled how tired I had been when Bob and I were facing our late-night interruptions, yet it occurred to me that as often as we come before God with our own requests and interruptions, He never tires of us; our words never fall on deaf ears. I remembered something from Psalms talking about how God listens to and answers prayer so I looked it up. In Psalm 116, it says 1 I love the LORD because he hears and answers my prayers. 2 Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I have breath! 3 Death had its hands around my throat; the terrors of the grave overtook me. I saw only trouble and sorrow. 4 Then I called on the name of the LORD: “Please, LORD, save me!” 5 How kind the LORD is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours! 6 The LORD protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and then he saved me. 7 Now I can rest again, for the LORD has been so good to me.
After reading those words, they only reemphasized what I had thought of earlier that evening that we should have put Jake’s nightmares to prayer from the very beginning. These verses are excellent reminders that God hears and answers our prayers, especially when we come to Him in child-like belief. In prayer there is rest; of that I have no doubt.