During my action-packed, responsibility-laden teaching days, sleeping wasn’t always easy. Praying and relaxing my muscles usually helped me drift off at night, but one night I was drifting nowhere. I was stuck firmly—exactly where I’d been all day—awake. It didn’t help that my husband started lightly, politely snoring approximately four minutes after our heads hit our respective pillows. My eyes were closed, but my mind remained wide open to thought after thought, worry after worry. How could I help a student who was grieving the loss of his father? Should I change the schedule of talks for the retreat? Was Friday’s lesson plan the most engaging way to introduce a new topic for discussion? Lying there, tense and tossing, I didn’t know my shift was over—that God takes the night shift!
The “day shift/night shift prayer” is a prayer of trust that I heard about through the greatvine, word of mouth. For many of us, our to-do list at day’s end has as many items untouched as it has tasks crossed off. But just because there’s work to be done doesn’t mean it’s today’s work. This prayer’s pithy metaphor makes the process of letting go more natural and effective. Ask God for the grace to pray it well, to mean the words and say them with a faith-filled heart. The language below is mine. I’ve adapted the prayer to fit my needs and encourage you to do the same.
You have been with me throughout this day.
Through your unending Grace,
I trust that I have done some good things.
I may also have made some mistakes—
Since you’re not finished with me yet.
But my day is finished.
You created my body, mind, and Spirit
To enjoy a restful, rejuvenating, healing night of sleep.
What a precious gift!
Tomorrow is a fresh start—
A brand-new chance to be who you call me to be.
But now, I’m clocking out. My shift is over.
I know the night shift is yours by your design.
I hope and pray, fellow traveler, that you’ll rely on God to take each night shift of your life. He never sleeps and never quits loving, treasuring, and caring for you. If you have a little one, you can help your child get into the habit of turning things over to God at bedtime by reading Night of Mysterious Blessings as you tuck them in at night.
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