“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me” (Psalm 23:4)
WHEN I LIVED IN rural St Mary, my grandmother didn’t have electricity for many years. My grandmother lived on a hill and when we left the main road there were no street lights to light the pathway to get to her house and the path was quite dark. We often used bottle torches to light the way. Because my grandmother told us a lot of “duppy” (ghost) stories as children, this was often a fearful journey in the dark but if we had company when walking along this dark path, we were not so fearful.
This reminds me of Psalm 23: 4, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.” The “with me” or company factor helps to slay fear especially when the company is stronger and more powerful than you. But even if the person is not strong, just having “backative” as we say in Jamaica gives us boldness in the face of a threat.
This “with me” factor was one of the main keys to overcoming my fear of the dark. I did not overcome the fear of the dark until I was 31 years old. Prior to this, I slept with the lights on. At age 31, I knew that I had to slay this fear.
Sleeping in the Dark
The deliverance came at a Discipleship Conference in 2011, when my leaders became aware of the stronghold of fear in my life. They gave us a book titled, Steps to Freedom in Christ. In it, there was an entire section that addressed various fears, including fear of the dark and being able to sleep without fear.
For many years I was afraid to sleep and plagued by nightmares, but that night at the camp, I was determined to sleep with the lights off although I was alone in my room.
I opened the Steps to Freedom in Christ book. It had a bed-time prayer. I prayed the prayer and then I turned off the lights. As my eyes got accustomed to the dark, I felt fearful. In response to that fear, I kept repeating Scripture verses from Psalm 23 and Psalm 139.
Those verses reassured me of God’s presence. I also kept repeating a famous line that a former leader at my church is attributed to saying, “God can see the blackest ant in the blackest night on the blackest stone.”
Armed with prayer and these verses, I slept in the dark alone for the first time.
I kept up this habit for one year and I slept peacefully without any nightmares! Now I cannot sleep with the lights on.
Although feeling fear is a natural thing, fear is a spirit and there can be a stronghold of fear in your life. The Scriptures tell us, “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind (self-discipline/self-control)” ( 2 Tim. 1:7).
As I disciplined my mind and submitted this fear to God, I gained freedom. To rid yourself of fear, you should intentionally re-educate yourself and retrain your mind.
I realized I could also reduce the nightmares by being careful about what I watched or listened to in the day and before going to bed. If you struggle with this fear giant, I want you to begin to use the word of God and pray the same prayer that helped me to slay this fear.
I want you to guard your mind and limit exposure to things that bring anxiety or fear by way of the media, news reports, movies etc.
Bedtime Prayer by Dr. Neil T. Anderson
I thank you, Lord, that you have brought me into your family and have blessed me with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Thank you for this time of renewal and refreshment to sleep. I accept it as one of your blessings for your children, and I trust you to guard my mind and my body during my sleep. As I have thought about you and your truth during the day. I choose to let those good thoughts continue in my mind while I am asleep. I commit myself to you for your protection against every attempt of Satan and his demons to attack me during sleep. Guard my mind from nightmares. I renounce all fear and cast every anxiety upon you. Lord I commit myself to you as my rock, my fortress and my strong one. May your peace be upon this place of rest in the strong name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
- Do you struggle with fear of the dark?
- Did you find these keys helpful?
- How do you plan to slay this fear?