Richard Turere used to be plagued by lions. Living in the savanna of Kenya, the thirteen year old has been responsible for the safety of his father’s cattle for more than half his young life. And lions were causing him grief. The Maasai boy knew he had to do something, if he wanted peace. Through a series of trial and error experiments Turere discovered something: small solar-powered electric lights, set up in series to flash separately, simulating movement, fool lions into thinking an armed man is guarding the cattle all night. The lions got the message; they no longer bother Turere or his father’s cattle. Even his neighbours recognize a good idea when they see one, and have asked him to set up lights like he has.
Turere has something to teach us. Not about lions and flashing lights, but about the enemy in our lives. Our enemy is subtler than the great Kenyan cats, but we are losing sleep over issues in our lives too. We are feeling overwhelmed and anxious about a variety of stressors in our lives.
We cannot do it all. We cannot protect ourselves from every danger in this life. Perhaps we have tried other options available. We’ve tried independence – doing it our way – but we’ve suffered the trial and error casualties that come with it. We’ve tried making our own gods – education, wealth, fitness, prestige – somehow life’s dangers are no respecters of these. We’ve tried using our own strength, but we are like children in the dark African night, and we know the odds aren’t good.
The best thing we can do is a sort of non-action. It is giving up all the striving and manipulating efforts that have gotten us nowhere and tapping into the Light of the World. It is admitting that He, God, is the only one who can watch over us day and night. We can’t do it ourselves. We only wear ourselves out trying. So instead, we pray through our fears and troubles, our worries that the enemy will take something precious from us. Calling out to God, our prayers are like beacons linked in series, flashing a message through the night: God is greater than our enemy, and the enemy knows it. Listen to what some of the psalmists had to say about night prayer:
“Blessed is the man…(whose) delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1,2).
“By day the LORD directs His love. At night His song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life” (Psalm 42:8.)
“On my bed I remember You; I think of You through the watches of the night” (Psalm 63:6).
“When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands…” (Psalm 77:2).
Et cetera. I could go on. You see the connection. The point is that prayer is strategic communication. It harnesses the power of the Almighty to guard our souls, and it is the only thing that will do it. So, meditate on His Words, sing to Him, remember His presence with you, seek Him and stretch out untiring hands to Him. It’s all prayer. And it’s the only way to get a good night’s rest, because it’s a jungle out there.