My best friend has insomnia. I have known about insomnia for a long time, but until recently I haven’t mourned with those who mournfully suffer from it. How miserable, not being able to sleep. Like everything in life, I require a lot of help when it comes to lamenting, and praying, for the issues and problems that press in on me and the people I love. I am grateful to The Great Author for creating and sustaining Doug McKelvey and endowing him with the gift of writing liturgies for simpleminded sheepy people like myself.
[A Liturgy For Those Who Cannot Sleep, by Doug McKelvey]
O Christ who is my rest, this tension of body, this racing of mind, and clamoring of heart afford me no peace in this night. Unable to sleep I would yet make use of my restlessness, O Lord. Amidst doubt, anxiety, uncertainty, I would learn to practice a more constant awareness of Your presence, directing heart and thought and petition to You.
[*Here the person may unburden their heart in conversation with God, bringing to Him any specific anxieties and concerns.]
Lay Your hand upon my brow, O Lord, and bid me calm. I cannot know every reason why sleep so evades me, and yet You have made me Yours and in that knowledge I would know comfort as a child cradled in a mother’s arms, who sleeping or waking cares not for which momentary state, but only for that sweet, unspoken communion of knowing they are held in the soothing strength of a great love that is their precious nurture and their perfect peace. So even in haggard sleeplessness, I would yet recognize my utter dependence upon You, remembering that You are with me whether I sleep or not.
I do pray that sleep will come. I pray that a blessed calm will descend. I pray that peace will rest upon me now, that my brow will soon smooth in slumber.
But even if it will not – even if mind or body refuse their rest – still let my soul take its repose in the enfolding comfort of Your presence, my head reclined against Your breast, hearing the deep music of Your heartbeat.
Waking or sleeping, O Lord, be this night my rest, and on the morrow, my strength.
“Before she was in labor
she gave birth;
before her pain came upon her
she delivered a son.
Who has heard such a thing?
Who has seen such things?
Shall a land be born in one day?
Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment?
For as soon as Zion was in labor
she brought forth her children.
Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?”
says the Lord;
“shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?”
says your God.
“Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,
all you who love her;
rejoice with her in joy,
all you who mourn over her;
that you may nurse and be satisfied
from her consoling breast;
that you may drink deeply with delight
from her glorious abundance.”
For thus says the Lord:
“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,
and bounced upon her knees.
As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;
your bones shall flourish like the grass;
and the hand of the Lord shall be known to his servants,
and he shall show his indignation against his enemies.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord