Recently I read about two men having breakfast in a hotel dining room. One man complained of a sleepless night. He felt as exhausted as when he had gone to bed. Guess I’d better stop listening to the news before going to bed,” he said. “I tuned in last night and got an ear full of trouble.”
The other man spoke up, “I had a grand night. I used a go-to-sleep plan that never fails to work.” When prodded for his plan, he explained. “When I was a boy, my father had the habit of gathering the family together at bedtime and he read to us out of the Bible. After prayers, I would go to my room and sleep like a baby. But when I left home I got away from the Bible reading and prayer habit.
“For years the only time I prayed was when I got into trouble; but some months ago my wife and I, having difficult problems, decided we would try it again. We found it a helpful practice, so now every night before going to bed together we read the Bible and pray. I don’t know what there is about it, but I have been sleeping better and things have improved. Last night I read the Twenty-third Psalm out loud.”
He turned to the other man and said, “I didn’t go to bed with an ear full of trouble; I went to sleep with a mind full of peace.” I believe the secret of peace lies in our minds. Isaiah expresses it this way: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3). Our minds are under assault from the stress and strain of daily life: our jobs, the traffic, raising children, health concerns, finances, exams…the list seems endless.
What we need is to have a change of mental attitude. The Scripture refers to it as the “renewing of your mind.” We need to revamp our thinking from stress and negativity to the relaxed attitude of acceptance of God’s gift of peace.
One method to gain a mind full of peace is to practice emptying the mind. At least twice a day, empty your mind of fears, hates, insecurities, regrets and guilt feelings.
To prevent the unhappy thoughts from sneaking in again, immediately fill your mind with healthy, positive thoughts. Repeat out loud comforting words from Scripture. Refer to your bulletins of the last two Sundays. You will find a wonderful list of positive “I Can” scriptures. One of my personal favorites that I repeat out loud daily is “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). Words have great suggestive power, and there is healing in the very saying of them.
Another helpful idea is to write on cards the verses that speak to your need. Carry one of the cards, referring to it frequently until each verse is committed to memory. A mind that is “stayed on Him” will not have room for negative demoralizing thoughts. The Apostle Paul exhorts: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
A physician said, “Many of my patients have nothing wrong with them except their thoughts. So I have a favorite prescription I write for some. It is a verse from the Bible, Romans 12:2. I do not write out that verse for my patients. I make them look it up and read it: “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”
“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8