It’s an honor to welcome Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith to the blog today! I recently read her book, Sacred Rest, and HIGHLY recommend it.
Her words below are incredibly powerful and needed. In fact, as I worked on this post, I realized that I needed to unplug after hitting the “Schedule” button. It’s easy to charge through life — to pursue and move and do — that we forget to simply be, isn’t it?
Will you join me in the worthy pursuit of rest today? Let’s allow the prayers in this post to renew our minds, bodies, and spirits…
What’s on your schedule for today? I don’t know you, but I’m willing to bet your calendar is brimming with appointments, school functions, church activities, sports events, and the unscheduled but always present daily responsibilities like cooking, making beds, and doing dishes.
Life can become busier than we find comfortable. It can take on a dangerous momentum, leading us away from God’s best and into a pit of fatigue, despair, and hopelessness.
Are you chronically tired, stressed, and feeling overwhelmed by your responsibilities? Perhaps you need to consider taking a hard look at what’s depleting you. Could it be there is a Sabbath rest that still remains for those who love God? An understanding of rest that goes deeper than getting more hours of sleep or taking another vacation? A sacred rest to align your life with God’s best and bring restoration to every place of weakness.
For such a rest to happen, our level of trust must rise to the point we are able to surrender. Surrender our misconceived notion of control and our thoughts that every blessing must come by our own blood, sweat, and tears. Trusting in the finished work of Jesus and receiving His provisions as we lay ourselves down to rest.
It’s time we view rest as the gift it truly is, as something precious, holy, and sacred. It’s time we exchange our to-do list activities with a today list of experiences. Experience the unconditional love of the Father. Experience the joy of listening to your children’s laughter. Experience the hope of new life blooming in your yard. Experience the contentment of being known and fully accepted into the beloved.
See the physical, mental, and emotional strain of busyness as a call to prayer. Let your time of communion with God alleviate the stress and usher in His peace and rest.
Can you set aside one day, one evening, or even one hour to have no appointments or commitments? Of course you can, but the question is will you? Will you honor your body’s need for rest or will you continue to push yourself to the max?
When anxiety, fear, and turmoil rise, choose to enter into the secret place with God. Find a quiet place. A bedroom, bathroom, or even a closet can be a good option. Small rooms with minimal distractions are best, but God is willing to come wherever you are and meet with you.
Once you are alone, allow your body and mind to be still. You can lie down, kneel, or sit. Your positioning should be relaxed. Thoughts will try to pop up in your mental space, but resist the temptation to allow them to dwell there. Dwell on one word that brings you comfort. A few words I’ve found beneficial are ones that describe God, such as faithful, healer, deliverer, joy, redeemer, peace, restorer, powerful, love, truth, and grace.
Give yourself permission to do nothing on purpose. Sit on your porch and listen to the wind blowing through the trees, soak up the sun. Resist the voice saying you are wasting time. How can restoring your soul be a waste of time?
Don’t make a to-do list, write in your journal, or try in any way to record the moment. Just enjoy the moment. Being still and silent before God is often the most challenging part of resting. But, oh how we need it. We need those times when we decrease, and He increases.
Here are three prayers to pray for rest, renewal, and relaxation.
A Prayer For Rest
Jesus, I am tired. My mind is frazzled, my hands are full, and my emotions are reeling with all the things I have to do. Help me to come to you in the middle of the overwhelm. Remind me of your ever-present help in my times of need. Show me how to rest in You. Reveal to me both the beauty in the work and in the rest. Calm my anxious thoughts and encourage my heart with Your nearness. Instruct me in your ways. Bring productivity and contentment out of the peace and comfort I find. Settle me in Your truth and in Your love. Amen.
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation.
~ 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NLT)
A Prayer For Renewal
Jesus, I am weary. I spend each day busy but feel I accomplish little. Help me to set healthy boundaries and prioritize by Your Holy Spirit. I have my to-do list, but what do You have for me today? Help me not to miss Your divine appointments. Set my focus on things above and keep my eyes on You. Reveal to me what I should hold on to, and what I need to let go. Empower and equip me for the work You have for me. Give me the lasting strength of abiding in You. Renew my mind, body, and spirit, Lord, and make me whole. Amen.
Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.
~ Isaiah 40:31 (NASB)
A Prayer for Relaxation
Jesus, I am stressed. Help me to accept your invitation to come empty and receive the rest I need. Help me to willingly release my fear, my worries, my agenda, and my to-do list. Ease the tension and replenish my body. Silence the voices of doubt and speak Your words of truth. Remove the heaviness of my day and pour out abundantly into my life. Fill me with Your peace, joy, and love. Fill me until the overwhelm is consumed by Your grace, and my life reflects the beauty of resting in You. Amen.
Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.
~ Matthew 11:28–30 (NLT)
Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith is an author, speaker, and board-certified internal medicine physician. She has an active medical practice in Alabama (near the Birmingham area). She received her B.S. in Biochemistry at the University of Georgia and graduated with honors from Meharry Medical College in Nashville. She has been an adjunct faculty member at Baker College and Davenport University in Michigan teaching courses on health, nutrition, and disease progression.
Dr. Dalton-Smith is a national and international media resource on the mind, body, spirit connection and a top 100 medical expert in Good Housekeeping Doctors’ Secrets. She has been featured in many media outlets including Women’s Day, Redbook, First For Women, MSNBC, and Prevention. She is the author of Set Free to Live and Come Empty (winner 2016 Golden Scroll Nonfiction Book of the Year and 2016 Illumination Award Gold medalist). Her newest release is Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity. She has shared her tips on merging faith and medicine with over 16,000 health care professionals to encourage the current and next generation of doctors to treat the whole person.
Learn more at: www.drdaltonsmith.com
ABOUT SACRED REST
Staying busy is easy. Staying well rested — now there’s a challenge.
How can you keep your energy, happiness, creativity, and relationships fresh and thriving in the midst of never-ending family demands, career pressures, and the stress of everyday life? In Sacred Rest, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, a board-certified internal medicine doctor, reveals why rest can no longer remain optional.
Dr. Dalton-Smith shares seven types of rest she has found lacking in the lives of those she encounters in her clinical practice and research-physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, sensory, social, creative-and why a deficiency in any one of these types of rest can have unfavorable effects on your health, happiness, relationships, creativity, and productivity. Sacred Rest combines the science of rest, the spirituality of rest, the gifts of rest, and the resulting fruit of rest. It shows rest as something sacred, valuable, and worthy of our respect.
By combining scientific research with personal stories, spiritual insight, and practical next steps, Sacred Rest gives the weary permission to embrace rest, set boundaries, and seek sanctuary without any guilt, shame, or fear.