In December we went through a really hard time of Jacob waking up many times during the night saying he had a bad dream and wanting to get in bed with us. This pattern of waking up at 1, 3, and 5 was taking a toll on me and Diane, and finally I decided to begin praying over Jacob. The main motivation behind these prayers was because I wanted and needed sleep. I was pretty much begging God to keep him asleep so that I didn’t have to be tired all the time.
But as I prayed for him to sleep, God began to stir in me to pray about other things. Things like his heart to be stirred towards knowing the Lord; like his future wife; like his heart being freed from fear and awakened to adventure. And then I began going up to the loft and praying over each of my girls.
Because my desire for sleep was so desperate, I was praying over him every night, and thus praying over my girls every night as well. And in time, my prayers spent less and less time asking God for sleep and more time blessing my children and speaking truth over them and into their lives.
While slight sleep deprivation is very slight on the overall scale of suffering, God did use that discomfort to lead me to my knees and to teach me to pray for my children. And because the wakefulness did not go away after the first night of prayer (or the fifth), God developed a habit in me that has remained (more or less) even after Jacob has begun sleeping again, and therefore his wakefulness has been a great gift.