Disciple-making ministry tip: Don't count sheep!

  • Shirley Mainstone
  • 10 August 2015

Many older people—and some younger ones too—have difficulty sleeping right through the night, spending hours or minutes trying to go to sleep. Many years ago, I was discussing insomnia with Dr Paul White, the famous “Jungle Doctor”. He stated, “If I can’t sleep, I don’t count sheep, I talk to the Shepherd.” The idea fascinated me, as a very frustrating time could then be used for something worthwhile.

So, when some of my friends and I can’t sleep at night, we “pray through the alphabet”. Starting at ‘A’, we think of all the people we know whose names begin with ‘A’ and we pray for them. Sometimes we fall asleep before we get to ‘Z’. When we come to a letter such as ‘Q’, we pray for missionaries who are serving God in Quebec. We find this is a very profitable way to spend wakeful hours.

There is another way to use the alphabet when you can’t sleep: think of Bible verses that start with letters of the alphabet. For example, ‘A’ could be “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.

Those of us who went to Sunday School and had to learn a “memory text” each week have a real advantage. However, it’s not too late for you to start to memorize God’s words. Here is one way to do it. As you read the Bible each day, you will come across some verses that just seem to be meant for you that day. Write them out on a sheet of paper—or print them on the computer. Attach the paper on your fridge door, mirror, or the inside door of the “smallest room in the house”.

As you read the verses many times each day, you will find you have memorized them. Then it’s time to write some more verses on a new sheet. But don’t discard the sheets of paper; every now and again re-read them.

Happy sleeping!

Photo credit: Warren Lynn