God created us for rest. All throughout Scripture we can see this theme. It is an invitation to regularly return to His respite and restoration. From the very first day of the very first human, God created a pattern of rest. While God rested on the seventh day, that was Adam’s first full day on earth. God rested after His work, while Adam began his life with rest. We see God’s design for rest as He instituted it in the ten commandments, and in His words such as these in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” We also observe this pattern in the days Jesus walked the earth, as He regularly returned to God’s refuge for intentional times of prayer and rest.
And yet, we often find rest difficult to come by. For some, sleep is disrupted by fearful dreams. Rest is robbed from us as we lay awake worrying about the world around us and those we care for. For others, evening is anything but a welcome time of rest. In the wake of grief, the night can bring feelings of loneliness and despair.
When sleep is hard to come by, we can lean into God’s Word for a deeper rest than even slumber can lend. Sleeplessness, anxiety, nightmares, and loneliness can act as a beacon pointing us to our source of hope, light, and the deepest rest there is. Here are three Scriptures to pray every evening:
“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 guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.”
Dear Lord, only You know the depths of my soul and its weariest spaces. Restore me in a way only You can. In my sleep, lead me beside quiet waters. Keep me from evil, that I may walk in righteousness by Your power and provision. Let no evil enter my mind tonight, and guard me against fearful or anxious thoughts. You are my Shepherd every hour of the day, and in the watches of night. In Jesus’ name, amen.
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
Dear Lord, I admit I am often consumed by this world’s troubles. Too easily I fret away the minutes and hours in fear. These anxieties exhaust me. Lord, you call me to so much more. You have already overcome every tribulation of this world, claiming victory even over death! Lord, I claim Your victory tonight. Let no worrisome thought speak above Your voice. Rather, refresh me in Your truth and promises. Remind me how You have been faithful to me before, that I may trust You for tonight and tomorrow. In Jesus’ name, amen.
“In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
For You alone, Lord, have me dwell in safety.”
Dear Lord, You offer a deeper rest than anything this world can boast. While we all go about our days looking for things to give us energy or aid in our sleep, You invite us and patiently wait for us to enter Your rest. I acknowledge Yours is the deepest, because it comes paired with Your indescribable peace. I want to experience both more fully. Help me each day to live by Your peace, and each night to return to Your rest. I know You keep me safe — my heart, my mind, my soul, and my body. Help me to dwell in Your safety as I enter and abide in Your rest tonight. In Jesus’ name, amen.