Coping with the Challenges, Trusting God

Bad Dreams and Prayer

sound sleepIt was around 10:30 last night. The kids were already asleep, and my husband and I were in the living room watching TV. We heard the sound of little feet in the hallway and the bathroom door close. Typical sounds in our home at this time of night. But this wasn’t a bathroom stop. Gabriel was walking around. First to the bathroom, but just to close the door, not to use it. Then to the kitchen, where all the lights were off. Then to the living room. He had a panicked look in his face. He didn’t say a word or couldn’t. It was like he wanted to say something, but was physically unable to speak. Did he have a bad dream? Was he sleepwalking? For Gabriel, it has always been difficult to separate reality from make-believe. So dreams, particularly bad dreams (though they don’t happen too often), pose a challenge for us. In the past, I would have to hold him tight, wrapping my arms and legs around him because he would be so racked with anguish from a bad dream. Though at first, he struggles in my arms, he eventually calms down when I hug him tight. I believe it makes him feel secure.

Last night could have potentially been like the other incidents in the past, but it wasn’t. Nonetheless, we turned off the TV to minimize things that could stimulate him. We stopped asking him questions. And we refrained from speaking to each other. I led him to the couch and had him lie down next to me. He was still squirming, but eventually, I felt his body settle down. Thankfully, he fell back asleep. Don’t you just feel this immediate peace and calm when you see a child sleeping, especially one that was struggling so much when awake? With his head on my lap, I stroked his hair and kissed his forehead. I had not held him like that in such a long time! I looked at Gabriel so peacefully sleeping, but I know that in his mind, there is a war waging, which I don’t completely understand. I believe God gave me that moment to pray for Gabriel. So, I wept and I prayed.

God wanted me to pray. He surely doesn’t need me to pray in order to act. He can do what He wills with or without me. But in His infinite wisdom, He allows His people to be a part of His work. Prayer is just one way. Do I control God through my prayers? Do I steer Him this way and that? Of course not! Rather, when I pray, I submit myself to His sovereign control. It is a privilege to pray.

Consider what John Piper (pastor, author, theologian) said about this, “The utterly amazing thing is that [God] has ordained to include us in running the universe. He really does respond to our prayers. They are woven into the fabric of causes that God wills to be moved by. We do not pray in vain. He is our Father. And when he hears his children, he responds. He is not deaf or indifferent or powerless. He hears and he acts.”


(Photo credit 1: therealbrute

2 thoughts on “Bad Dreams and Prayer”

  1. I always love to think about God working through Moses… He could have made water come from that rock without Moses. He could have saved Noah without an ark. He uses us the same way. What an amazing gift! I love being a part of His plans– especially in the lives of my children. Love this post! PS… One of my kiddos had a bad dream an night or two ago. He told me about it the next morning and said, “Don’t worry, Mom. I sang Psalms and recited them.” Melt my heart! Bad dreams have been a topic of concern for us.

    1. Yes, you’re absolutely right! Moses, Noah, and so many others that God used to do His work. It’s so humbling, isn’t it? And it’s wonderful that your child turned to God’s word for comfort. It’s a precious blessing from The Lord! Praying for you to have wisdom in dealing with the bad dreams.

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