Sleep Is Part Of Your Worship

There is no doubt that many people struggle with good and healthy sleeping habits. To be sure, some of the problem (if not much of the problem) has to do with our late night use of technology. To be sure, yet again, we also need to make certain that we don’t oversimplify the problem. There are many reasons why we don’t sleep well and our chronic lack of sleep can be a good indicator that something else is going on physically or spiritually. In these cases, we need to seek more counsel from people who know more than we do.

Over and over again, I hear students say that they try to fall asleep watching Netflix. Others will try going to sleep and once they toss and turn on their bed for a short amount of time they give up and turn their phone or TV back on.

I my experience I am seeing many people who are getting an average of 4-6 hours of sleep each night while studies show that those same people should be getting an average of 8-10 hours per night. It comes as no surprise to me that many of these people are the ones who struggle with anxious thoughts, endless stress, and even lust. Part of the reason why they aren’t getting sleep is caused by their anxious thoughts, endless stress, and due dates coming up. Unfortunately, it can seem like an endless circle where stress causes lack of sleep which causes more stress which causes more lack of sleep. I have had to learn that one of the earliest questions I need to ask when counseling someone is how much sleep they have gotten in the past several weeks.

To be clear, our children’s sleeping issues come from a variety of causes. We need to be careful saying that it is a one-to-one result of “bad parenting”. Sure, there are many helpful tips that we can implement but at the end of the day it is our children who must fall asleep for themselves. There are many reasons why we can have bad sleeping habits and if these are overlooked for a long period of time then they can cause further problems down the road.

Paul tells the Romans Christians in Romans 12:1-2 that we should present ourselves as “living sacrifices”. This means that the totality of our lives (body and soul) should be given to God as our spiritual worship. This includes our sleep. We should not pride ourselves for being able to stay up all night getting work done as if we are the most productive people in the world. Neither should we pride ourselves on getting 2-4 hours of sleep and fighting through the day like nothing is wrong with us as if we are Superman or Superwoman. One of the best ways we can worship God is to lay down our heads on our pillows and trust that He is good, He is sufficient, and He will provide for us. There are many nights where we have to fight to relax. There is a reason why God made us as creatures who need to spend a third of our lives sleeping. Think about that for a moment.

The following article is one of the more helpful articles I have found that dives into this topic more while also giving helpful tips for us to sleep better and help our children sleep better. Here is an excerpt:

In the Psalms, David shows that peaceful sleep is an act of trust and a sign of humility. “I lie down and sleep,” David said, “I wake again, because the Lord sustains me” (Ps 3:5–6). He also said, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Ps 4:8).  Getting a good night’s rest shows that we know God is in control and will watch over us when we are at our most vulnerable.

Sleep is a sign of trust and humility. But it’s also a spiritual discipline. As D. A. Carson says,

Sometimes the godliest thing you can do in the universe is get a good night’s sleep—not pray all night, but sleep. I’m certainly not denying that there may be a place for praying all night; I’m merely insisting that in the normal course of things, spiritual discipline obligates you get the sleep your body need.

Like most spiritual disciplines, to be most effective sleep requires both a change in attitude and a change in habits. Here are a few things I learned and practical steps I’ve taken to better develop the spiritual activity of rest:

Get enough sleep — There are a number of factors that affect the quality of your rest, the most important being how long you sleep each night.

The amount of sleep a person needs varies from individual to individual and changes over the course of their lifetime. But if you’re like most people, chances are you’re not getting adequate sleep to be fully rested.

Here is the average number of hours of sleep, based on age, a person needs every day:

-6 to 13 years of age: 9 to 11 hours

-14 to 17 years of age: 8 to 10 hours

-18 to 25 years of age: 7 to 9 hours

-26 to 64 years of age: 7 to 9 hours

-65 and older: 7 to 8 hours

For the full article, click here.

Passing the Torch: Our Commitment to Teach the Next Generation to Sing the Songs of our Savior

The Music Ministry at Pear Orchard Presbyterian Church exists to lead the saints in their service of worship before God and equip them for kingdom work, utilizing God’s gift of music in obedience to His Word. You may not realize when you joined POPC that you joined our largest choir – the congregation. God’s word commands and exhorts us to sing and make music to Him. He created music and he has given this gift to the church to praise and worship Him. He has given each of us a voice to use to sing to Him and each voice is different. You may or may not think your voice sounds very good, but He loves to hear our voices praising Him just as a father delights to hear his child call him “Daddy.”

How do we as a church steward this gift of God? By fully utilizing it corporately in the worship of God every Lord’s Day and individually in our own lives and families. We invest our time, resources and energy to pass these things along to our children, recognizing that they are the worshipers of the next generation. Children’s choir is one of the means by which we seek to train the next generation to use the gift of music in the worship 6 of God. We recognize that we cannot change our hearts or the hearts of our covenant children, but by the grace of God, we can teach children to use their voices, plant the Word of God in their hearts, and show them what worship looks like. We do this, looking in faith to the Holy Spirit to do His work in their hearts.

The two-fold goal of our children’s choirs is to teach our covenant children what God says about singing and worship and to equip them with the skills to use their voices to participate in worship. This teaching and training of our covenant children is a gift that will serve them well their entire lives. This training could mean the difference in a lifetime of mumbling half-heartedly in the pew or singing whole-heartedly and with skill to the Lord as an act of worship. We pray that the Lord will shape our children into life-long worshippers of Him. What greater desire do any of us have for our children?

You have probably heard the statement that most people who come to Christ do so in childhood. I have my own theory that most people who know how to sing and how best to utilize God’s gift of music in their own lives, learned those skills as a child. In my experience, adults who come to me wanting to learn how to sing, often did not have the privilege of musical training as a child. The good news is that it is never too late to learn to sing! But the most opportune time to learn is in childhood.

You might ask, if God commands and equips, why do we need training? In past generations, people regularly sang and made music together inside and outside the church. Today, we are an entertainment-oriented society with the idea that only professional singers sing. We often judge ourselves and others by a false standard given to us by our culture. But God calls us to active participation. Why? Music is His gift but it is also an effective tool for us in the fight of faith as we war against the world, the devil, and our own flesh. Think of how readily we can recall scripture set to music. Can you think of a time of trial or suffering where the music of the church was used by the Holy Spirit as a powerful tool for encouragement or comfort or even chastisement?

We teach our children that what we believe is important by our actions. One of the great blessings of being in a covenant family is the partnership we experience as we join together to teach and train our covenant children. Let us be ever zealous to utilize the gift of music in worship ourselves and pass it along to the next generation that our Lord may receive glory! “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16).