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The Holy Spirit’s Presence in Your Brain During Sleep


Why so Tired?

The Spirit works in and through the natural processes of our brain to renew our brain functions.

One might ask in protest, why doesn’t the Spirit renew my brain if I don’t get enough sleep?  In other words, why would the Spirit sometimes leave a person tired?

Notwithstanding any sleeping problems one might have, I figure that often the answer is that one needs to cooperate better with the Spirit. This is similar to how the Spirit builds our character. The apostle Paul tells us that the Spirit produces “fruit” in our lives of “love, joy, peace, patience,” etc. (Galatians 5:22), and yet he also tells us that in order to see this fruit present in our lives, we need to be “led by the Spirit” (v. 18) and to “keep in step with the Spirit” (v. 25). Likewise, we can choose to either “resist the Holy Spirit” (Acts 7:51), or we can choose to “keep in step with the Spirit” by ensuring we get enough sleep. And the Spirit will then do the work necessary to renew our brains.

Image: Hutomo Abrianto

Just as God sends the Spirit throughout creation to “renew the face of the ground” (Psalm 104:30), the Spirit is present and at work in my brain, restoring its functions while I am sleeping. And this is one way that when “I lie down and sleep … the Lord sustains me” (Psalm 3:5).





[1] Hendrikus Berkhof, The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit: The Annie Kinkead Warfield Lectures, 1963–1964 (Richmond, VA: John Knox Press, 1964), p. 94.

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Category: Spirit, Summer 2018

About the Author: Andrew K. Gabriel, Ph.D. (McMaster), is an ordained minister with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada and associate professor of theology at Horizon College and Seminary, an affiliated college of the University of Saskatchewan. He has focused his research on the doctrines of God, the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, Pentecostalism, and Karl Barth. He is the author of Barth's Doctrine of Creation: Creation, Nature, Jesus, and the Trinity (2013), The Lord is the Spirit: The Holy Spirit and the Divine Attributes (2011), co-author of Johannine Writings and Apocalyptic: An Annotated Bibliography (2013), and a forthcoming book for pastors and laity, Simply Spirit-Filled: Experiencing God in the Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit (2019). You can download his free e-book Spirit Baptism in the Old and New Testaments (Not Just Acts) at his web page,

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