Get to Sleep and Get to Heaven at the SAME TIME!

We have the flu, and even though I’m dead tired it takes a while to wind down and fall asleep at night.  Yesterday I remembered a trick someone taught me–something soothing to focus your mind on, so it will stop racing around and keeping you awake.  Go through the alphabet, and think of one thing for every letter that you’re grateful for.  I mentioned this to a friend one day, and she was aghast.  “You want me to come up with 26 things?   I have trouble even thinking of one thing I’m grateful for every day!”  Actually, so do I.  But for some reason, when the only condition is that it begins with “A”–rather than being some large, spiritual thing–I find it a lot easier.  Here’s an example:

A–I’m grateful I live in America.
B–I’m grateful for the giant box we got in the mail that the kids are enjoying so much.
C–I’m grateful I had chocolate for dessert.
D–I’m grateful for the nice dream I had last night.
E–I’m grateful for my wonderful best friend E.
F–I’m grateful we have enough food to eat.
G–I’m grateful for gardens.

And here’s a variant I thought of last night: for each letter, think of someone you need to pray for.  It doesn’t have to be long–just lift their name up to God.  This is great for neurotic, scrupulous people like me, whose nighttime thoughts race back and forth from “why can’t I fall asleep?  The baby will be up in 6 hours!” to “let me think of something soothing to put myself to sleep” to “but wait, I should use this free time for prayer!”  Well, here’s a way to pray and fall asleep at the same time.