I’ve noted this before but I’ve often wondered why is it that when I preach, an hour seems like ten minutes and when someone else preaches, ten minutes seem like an hour.
Whatever the reason, it leads me to some gymnastics, especially when I’m tired. I sit quietly in my place, pushing up my eyelids as if they were 50-pound weights, trying to stay awake.
(Actually, the pastor is the only one who doesn’t appreciate you sleeping. Everyone else thinks it’s funny—with the possible exception of your wife.)
Do you have enough muscles in your eyelids to shove them open for 40 minutes? If not, here are some strategies for sleeping in church without getting caught.
Pretend to be meditating as you lean forward, eyes closed, elbow on your knee, hand supporting your head and shading your eyes. This one is okay because it makes you seem spiritual. Sometimes your elbow slips off your knee as you drift into la-la land, though.
Once again, those seated around you really enjoy this. You help them to stay awake as they watch you, wondering what you’ll do next, hoping secretly you’ll fall over.
Some have learned to sleep with their eyes open, which is great as long as you don’t snore.
My daughter suggested painting eyeballs on your eyelids (Yeah, it runs in the family). You could also have a pair of fake glasses with open eyes painted on them and put them on when no one is looking.
If all else fails, you can sit behind someone tall and wide and the pastor can’t see you unless he moves around while he preaches.
But, just in case you’re interested, here are some strategies for staying awake.
1. Drink a lot of coffee before the sermon.
2. Pray for the pastor (don’t just pray that he will hurry up and finish either). Pray that God will speak through him to you and others who listen.
3. Pray for a wide-awake spirit. “This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Eph. 5:14). I sure want the light of the Lord shining in me.
Maybe I need to be clanging bells in my heart, pouring spiritual ice water on my head and pinching myself while shouting, “Wake up David! Wake up!” (Do it in your heart. If you do it in the service, you’ll attract more attention than your neighbor who is snoring like a chain saw).
I often have adventures when I sleep. Once I was having a bad dream and realized that all I had to do was wake up to get out of it. But, it’s not that easy is it? It’s so important, though!
“And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” (Romans 13:11, NIV
One of the biggest problems in the Church of the last days before Jesus returns is sleepiness about spiritual things. “Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.
“Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.” (Rev. 3:2, 3 NIV)
Whoa! This sleeping thing may be more serious than I thought. Lord, help us to wake up—not just during the pastor’s message but in my whole life.
Tell me what you think: What are some signs of spiritual sleeping. What do you do when you find yourself dozing off spiritually?
“To look back upon the progress of the divine kingdom upon earth is to review revival periods which have come like refreshing showers upon dry and thirsty ground, making the desert to blossom as the rose, and bringing new eras of spiritual life and activity just when the Church had fallen under the influence of the apathy of the times.”