Sometimes, when I can’t sleep (particularly when my mind is racing), I’ll play a little game with myself. It’s a sleep exercise intended to focus my thoughts on God and thank Him for who He is. It slows my brain down, breaks cycles of obsessive thinking, and shows me how to rest in my God. The game (which my mom taught me years ago) is simple: I pray my way through the alphabet, choosing one (or more) of the names of God for each letter.
How to Rest with a Sleep Exercise
Here’s how it works: I start with the letter A, and think of one of the names of God for that letter. For instance, the Alpha and Omega. It can also be done with the attributes of God, but for some reason I find that when I’m trying to figure out how to rest, there is just something SO soothing about the names of God. I like to meditate on each name or attribute and then say a little prayer of thanks.
Sometimes I’ll spend as much time as I can on each letter, thinking of as many different names/attributes as I can. Other times I’ll choose just one of the names of God for each letter. Either way, the idea is to go slow. This is a sleep exercise. I’m not trying to race through it, but to slow my brain down.
And bonus, I get to meditate on who God is! I allow those meditations to overwhelm me with gratitude as I thank Him in reverent awe because He is so worthy! Most of the time I fall asleep long before I get to Z. But even when I don’t, it is time well spent. If I have to be awake, I might as well be using that time to deepen my appreciation for the mighty God I serve!
Let’s walk through one example of this sleep exercise. Perhaps I will post another down the road with new names.
The Names of God from A to Z
A – Abba Father – “Thank-you, Daddy, that You are a personal God. That you love me with the tender care of a good father. Thank-you for loving me enough to discipline me when I need it! Thank-you for letting me crawl up into Your lap and for holding me close. Thank-you for giving me good gifts out of the abundance of Your love for me! I love You too!”
B – Bread of Life – “Thank-you, Sustainer, that You are enough! Thank-you for giving me Your Word so that I can devour its life-giving nourishment! Help me to never wander from it so that I will never be hungry again!”
C – Creator – “Thank-you, Maker of Heaven and Earth, for designing all that is and that was and that is to come! You are the ultimate artist! I am in awe of Your creation! Thank-you for making everything so intricately complex and showing me that You care about order and about detail. If this amazing world is fallen, I can’t even imagine the splendor of heaven. I can’t wait to see what Your creation will look like when it is perfect!”
D – Divine One – “Thank-you, God, that You are excellent and delightful and that there is no other god.”
E – Emmanuel – “Thank-you, God with us, that You came to us as a man. Thank-you for sacrificing Your divine privilege and sharing in our suffering. Thank-you for enduring a life here on earth so that we can come boldly before You knowing that You have faced everything we face. Knowing that You understand us! What a gift You are!”
F – Faithful Friend – “Thank-you, my One True Companion, for Your unfailing faithfulness! Thank-you that in a world as fickle as the weather, Your steadfast loyalty can always be counted on! I can’t imagine being able to face another day without You by my side!”
G – Giver of Life – “Thank-you, my Creator, for knitting me together in my mother’s womb! Thank-you for breathing life into me. Even more than that, thank-you for calling me out of the darkness of sin and death and making me Your very own. Thank-you that through You I can have everlasting life!”
H – Healer – “Thank-you, my Great Physician, that there is nothing I face, nothing that anyone I know faces that is too difficult for You to heal! Thank-you for the promise that one day, we will stand before You whole and perfect. That we will have no more pain, no more death, and that You will wipe away every tear! I can’t wait!”
I – I AM – “Thank-you, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that You have had a plan for Your people from the very beginning! Thank-you that you set the stage and prepared a way for us to get back to You! Thank-you that there is no other god like You! Thank-you that You are who You are!”
J – Jesus – “Thank-you, my Savior, for coming to earth and dying in my place! Thank-you for living a perfect life. Thank-you for taking my sin upon Yourself! Thank-you for rising again. Thank-you for choosing me so that one day I will be Your beautiful, spotless bride!”
K – King of Kings – “Thank-you, High King of Heaven, that there is no power in heaven or on earth that exists apart from Your intention. Thank-you that You are the One that is ultimately ruling over it all. Thank-you that one day, every knee will bow before Your throne and confess that You are Lord!”
L – Lion of Judah – “Thank-you, Seed of Abraham, that You always fulfill Your promises to us! Thank-you that one day You will sit on the throne of David forever. Thank-you that You will restore Your people, the Israelites, and one day call them back to Yourself.
M – Messiah – “Thank-you, the Promised One, for being the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets! Thank-you for giving us the gospels so that we can see plainly how You accomplished exactly what was prophesied. Thank-you for giving us the whole Bible so that we can understand that You are coming again. Thank-you for the promise of victory over death that You secured when You rose again on the third day!”
N – Name Above Every Name – “Thank-you, Jehovah God, that You are so complex and difficult to understand because You are so far above us! Thank-you that you are so much bigger and so much greater than we even know! Thank-you that there are so many names for You because Your attributes can’t be contained in just one name. And thank-you that Your names are elevated above any other. There is no god like You!”
O – Omnipresent – “Thank-you, the Alpha and Omega, that You are everywhere. Thank-you that You are outside of time and space, unbound by the constraints of this created world. Thank-you that You can be right here with me every moment of every day and yet be right there with the ones that I love too! Thank-you that no matter where I go or what I do, even when my heart is hard or I try to run, You never leave me, never forsake me! I am so unworthy!”
P – Prince of Peace – “Thank-you, my Comforter, for the peace that passes all understanding that can only be found in You. Thank-you that no matter what life may throw at me, that quiet contentment is always available! Thank-you that You will always fight for me, I need only be still!”
Q – Quieter of My Soul – “Thank-you, Breath of Heaven, that when the waves crash and the storm swirls within me, Your indwelling presence will calm my raging sea. Thank-you for being that still, small voice that guides my every step. Thank-you that as long as I follow You I have nothing to fear!”
R – Rock of Ages – “Thank-you, my Strong Tower, that You are a refuge in times of trouble! Thank-you that when my heart is overwhelmed You will lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. Thank-you for the security that I have in You!”
S – Sovereign Lord – “Thank-you, Omniscient One, that You are in control! Thank-you that You know everything. Everything that ever was, everything that is, and everything that is yet to be. Thank-you that it all falls into Your perfect plan! Thank-you for working everything together for my good! Thank-you for calling the shots, even when I think my way is better. What a mess we’d be in if I were in control! Thank-you that I’m not!”
T – Triune God – “Thank-you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for being more complex than my simple mind can understand! Thank-you for being more than a one-dimensional god could ever be! Thank-you for having three unique ministries and yet being the Only God. I don’t understand, but I do believe! Thank-you for revealing Yourself to me and making a way for me to know You!”
U – Upholder of All Things – “Thank-you, Omnipotent One, that You are all-powerful! Thank-you that in You everything holds together. Thank-you for making this world with order so that we can know what to expect. Thank-you that the sun comes up every morning and sets every night. Thank-you for bringing the wind and the rain in their season. Thank-you for flowers and the glory of springtime. Thank-you for the beauty of autumn and the wonder of a frozen winter snow. Thank-you for the joy in a summer day, and the dazzling night sky. Your works are wonderful!”
V – the Vine – “Thank-you, Tree of Life, for the promise that if I remain in You and You remain in me then I will bear much fruit! Thank-you for pruning me, cutting back what is ugly and dead to allow me to grow. Thank-you that You are making me beautiful in Your time!”
W – the Way – “Thank-you, Lamb of God, for making a way. Thank-you for being Truth and Life. Thank-you that there is no Way back to the Father except through You! Thank-you for being my perfect sacrifice so that I don’t have to live under the law and shed the blood of animals in order to atone for my sins! Thank-you that it is finished in You!”
X – I’ve never been able to think of anything for X. If you have something, leave it in the comments! I would love to find something for this letter!
Y – Yahweh – “Thank-you, God, that You made Yourself known to us. Thank-you for walking in the garden with Adam and Eve and for speaking to Moses and giving him the law. Thank-you for revealing Your plan through the prophets and for sending Your Son to die for me. Thank-you for giving me the Holy Spirit so that I can have victory on this earth. Thank-you for redeeming me so that I can live with You forever! Thank-you that YOU ARE GOD!”
Z – Zion’s King – “Thank-you, God of Angel Armies, that one day You will reign on the throne in a new Jerusalem. Thank-you that for all of eternity Your people will be able to live with You and worship You and commune with You. Thank-you, Almighty God, that I am one of Your people! Thank-you for choosing me. Thank-you for redeeming me! Thank-you for the promise of forever! You are so much more than I deserve and I am so grateful for You!
In Jesus’s Name, amen.”
How to Rest in the Names of God Printable
If you enjoyed this sleep exercise using the names of God, we’d love to offer you this printable with the example we used above. It includes both the names of God and the prayers. Tuck it into your Bible and use it as a prayer of gratitude for who God is! Just click the image below to get yours today!
*How about you? Do you ever have trouble sleeping? When you’re trying to figure out how to rest, what strategies have you used? Do you have a sleep exercise to share? How do you use that time to focus on God? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.