Falling asleep while praying

From time to time, Monica or I (you’ll have to guess who) am asleep by the time the other is done praying at night in bed.  Sometimes we chuckle about it.  Sometimes it makes us feel guilty.

I just read this in Kevin G. Harney’s book Seismic Shifts (pp. 95-96)…

[This is] a picture that captures the heart of prayer.  It comes from a confession I have heard many Christians make over the years: “I feel guilty because there are many evenings I try to pray but end up falling asleep right in the middle of my prayer time.”  These people feel they let God down each time they doze off before uttering their official amen for the day.

This is what I tell them, and I hope it speaks to your heart.

Imagine a mother cradling her 5-year-old girl in her arms.  It is the end of the day, and the two are talking.  The mom is telling her about the plans for tomorrow.  The little girl is talking about the fun she had that day.  As the daughter talks, she yawns and rubs her eyes.  They keep chatting, but the little girl is fading quickly.  The mother looks down at the one she loves so tenderly.  As they are talking, in midsentence, her little girl falls asleep, right in her arms.

How does the mother feel?  Is she angry?  Disappointed?

As the mother looks on her precious daughter, she smiles and rejoices.  There is no other place she would rather have her little girl fall asleep.

When we end our day with God and we happen to doze off, He is not angry or disappointed.  He holds us in His arms, embraces us, and gives us a kiss on the forehead.  God loves to be with us, to speak to us, and hear what is on our hearts.  And if we happen to fall asleep in His arms, it brings joy to His heart.  There is no better place for us to end a busy day.

I think also of how sleep (and sleeping securely in safety) is a gift for which the psalmist prays (e.g. Psalm 3:5; Psalm 4:8).  Imagine God answering that request even before the psalmist is finished asking for it!

6 thoughts on “Falling asleep while praying

  1. amanda says:

    So glad to hear this…i do this alot, falling asleep while praying and for along time I have felt aweful, and I even tell the Lord how sorry I am for this and yet, I will do it again.

    Thanks for your post


  2. SjG says:

    Thank you for your comment! I’m glad it encouraged you as it encouraged Monica and I.


  3. OP: I might be slow (lord knows I have been told lol) but that made totally no sense…


  4. SjG says:

    Rejser tin Finland:

    What I appreciated about the quote from Harney’s book is how we don’t necessarily have to feel guilty about falling asleep in the middle of praying to God.

    Of course, if we’re ALWAYS falling asleep while praying (or other meditative-like activity), we may wish to re-evaluate (a) how much effort we’re putting into our faith walk, and/or (b) whether our daily schedule needs adjusting because it’s so jam-packed that it leaves us completed depleted by the end of each day.



  5. […] fruit.” I’ve quoted from Seismic Shifts before about worship not being a spectator sport and falling asleep while praying.    Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)He’s the OneMissions, […]


  6. […] a “4th Point” post that consistently gets lots of hits each month is the one I wrote about falling asleep while praying in which I quote from Kevin G. Harney’s book Seismic Shifts.  Brennan Manning also has […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s