How John Piper cures insomnia

No, it’s not what you think!

I’m generally a good sleeper except on Saturday nights, when I often feel restless thinking about my sermon the next day.

As has been my custom for twelve years, I wake up at 4:00 on Sunday mornings. After stopping to pick up doughnuts (for the congregation), I arrive at the church around 5:30. I rehearse and revise my sermon manuscript and do whatever else needs to be done to get ready for worship.

The trouble is, unless I’m in bed early on Saturday nights—which rarely happens any night of the week—I’m often struck with that sinking feeling: “Now you’ve only got four hours of sleep available… Now you’ve only got three-and-a-half,” etc. You probably know that feeling.

It happened again last Saturday night. I was on the verge of panic.

But then I told myself—in all seriousness—”Brent, if the Lord wants you to sleep these next few hours, you’ll sleep. If not, you’ll just lie here and rest. Maybe he has something to tell you while you lie here. But either way, he’ll make sure you’ll have what you need to preach his Word tomorrow.” And then I prayed words to that effect and felt relieved. Almost immediately I drifted off.

My point is not to prescribe a new “faith-based” treatment for insomnia; it’s to say that this was an all-too-rare moment of practicing what I preach. I believe in God’s sovereignty and providential care—even over little things, like sleep. God is in control. God is looking out for me. The weight of the world is not on my shoulders.

C.S. Lewis, more than anyone, is responsible for helping me see the light about this doctrine. But I thought of John Piper because, you know, he’s famous for preaching that message.

(By the way, my fellow Methodists, you don’t have to be among the “Young, Restless, and Reformed” to appreciate that Piper is an excellent preacher.)

8 thoughts on “How John Piper cures insomnia”

    1. Taking a long nap on a Sunday afternoon after church is one of life’s little joys. I love it so much!

  1. I have listened to most of Piper’s sermons on He preaches expositionaly (word?) through whole books. Romans, for instance, took him ten years to complete! You may not agree with all of his doctrine, but no one can say he’s not one heck of a preacher. And, if you want to disagree with a part of his doctrine, you are really going to have to work to justify your disagreement.

    1. Yes, I’ve noticed that he mostly preaches through whole books. I listen to his sermons whenever they correspond to whatever text I’m preaching that week. He’s inspiring. I do wish he would have preached through more of the OT! But if he spent 10 years of his pastoral ministry in Romans, how could he? 😉

      But no… I’ve probably rolled my eyes about two times while listening to him—maybe at a sideswipe or generalization about Arminians or whatever. But mostly he doesn’t preach doctrines; he sticks to the text at hand.

      He loves Jesus and the Bible, he’s smart, and he’s humble. That’s a pretty good combination.

      He has a rather “advanced” audience, wouldn’t you say? On paper, his sermons are much “drier” than a typical Methodist preacher’s sermon. But he delivers them with great emotion. As intelligent as he is, he’s also a gifted orator.

      1. It was actually 225 messages beginning on April 26, 1998, and ending on December 24, 2006.

        Since Romans pretty much covers all Christian doctrine, I think he saw it as an unlimited resource. He certainly never got boring, and he wasn’t repetitive.

        He did the same thing with the Gospel of John, which is my favorite Piper series.

        Piper was a Seminary Professor before entering the pulpit, so yes he is pretty advanced. He respects his audience enough to believe they can/will keep up with him.

        I’m sure there are many great Methodist Sermons, but most never make it to an organized searchable website to be enjoyed at one’s pleasure. If there is such a site, I would love to know about it.

      2. I had a thought that I would one day organize mine like that. I could do it, but it would be a massive undertaking, even with far fewer sermons. Tim Keller has done that, too, but his “Gospel in Life” site is very slow, plus he charges $2.50 per sermon.

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