The theology of sleep

By Dave Henning / October 31, 2012

A blue felt Snoopy banner once hung in my dorm room at David-Jonathan Hall at Concordia (nee River Forest).  Snoopy was asleep on top of his dog house (must have been painful!).  The banner was captioned- “I think I’m allergic to morning.”  At the time I was completely unaware that my theology major had such a practical application!

In Chapter 3 of The Life You’ve Always Wanted, John Ortberg writes that he was surprised to find out how much the Bible speaks of what author John Ballie (A Diary of Private Prayer) calls the theology of sleep.  For example, consider the words of David in Psalm 3:5- “I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.”

Sleep also is an act of trust, Pastor Ortberg reminds us, because when we go to sleep we are called to remember that the world is in God’s hands, and will not fall apart despite our best efforts to control things.

As the Holy Spirit works in our hearts via our chosen spiritual disciplines, getting enough sleep is important so that we can maximize their effectiveness.  Sleep, indeed, is a gift from God.

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Dave Henning

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