How many sermons have you heard on the subject of sleep? John Baillie wrote a great chapter on A Theology of Sleep. Victor Hugo had some wonderful lines and prayers on the same topic. As an indication of the way F W Boreham was keen to discover the connection between faith and all of life it is instructive to see how many times he addresses the subject of sleep.
‘Do You Sleep Well?’ Boreham said, “Is a most important question.” The spectacle of a person sleeping in the face of distress and calamity is very impressive. Boreham contends that one of the main reasons why missionaries go to peoples of other cultures is to teach them to sleep! This is one of the tasks of the church today as it has been throughout the centuries. “She [the church] has excelled in the production of heroic and magnificent sleepers. That is why I insist that every candidate for her membership should be searchingly questioned as to her ability to sleep.”
Sleep for Boreham was not only a sign of faith but an essential experience of renewal. He wrote:
“I believe in Sleepy Hollow. They may laugh at its repose who laughed at the
great souls who slumbered there; but I am convinced that, if I can learn its
restful secret, there will enter into my life a great and wonderful
Practicing the Boreham Nap
Frank Boreham practiced what he preached. Every day after lunch Frank and Stella (his wife) would go to bed. It was not just ‘forty winks’; it was a decent sleep for about an hour.
Once when I was conducting a Boreham Bus Tour in Melbourne I spoke about this insight and one of Boreham's nieces, who had often visited the Boreham household when she was young, added the following observation: “And they took all their clothes off too!" If couples in ministry want to keep their relationship fresh, and live a long life, what better start than by implementing the Boreham Nap!
Sleep On It
A recent scientific study in Amsterdam has concluded that “when it comes to making tough decisions- don’t sweat it, sleep on it.” The report is giving weight to the role of sleep and letting the unconscious mind churn through the options of a decision.
F W Boreham commended the inspirational and visionary benefits that came to him in his sleep:
“We invariably find ourselves richer on rising than we were on retiring.
Personally, I have spent most of my life scribbling. I have always found it a
mistake to attempt to complete a manuscript in one day. I like to do part of it
- enough to get the theme well on to my mind - and then go to bed with the work
half-done. I do not consciously review the matter during the night: yet I
invariably wake up with a batch of ideas that were not there the previous day.”
“I have always kept a notebook beside my bed in which to record, as soon as I opened my eyes, the treasure with which my plunge into oblivion had enriched me. How often a word or a phrase or a quotation eludes us overnight; but in the morning it seems to be standing in the gateway of consciousness awaiting us.”
F W Boreham, The Golden Milestone, 14-21.
F W Boreham, Ships of Pearl, 16.
‘Sleep on it ‑decision-makers told.’ BBC News, 17 February 2006.
Image: Frank and Stella Boreham's first home in Mosgiel, NZ