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How to Sleep Through a Sermon
Without the Preacher Noticing

ONE: Never fall asleep flat on the pew. To keep this from happening, it's actually better to sit in a crowded pew, shoulder to shoulder with people on your left and right. Otherwise, if you fall asleep, you might slump right over the pew and that's not good. Read Acts 20:9 and be forewarned. A kid named Eutychus was sitting in a window; fell asleep under Paul's preaching and toppled three stories to the ground below. He was "taken up dead," but fortunately the apostle Paul was there to intervene. Your preacher is no apostle Paul. Trust me.

TWO: When you sleep, don't fall completely asleep, but just power nap instead. If you fall completely asleep, your sleep apnea might kick up and that could be embarrassing. Better to just go half-asleep, so that you're vaguely aware of your surroundings. It helps to use a Bible to prop your chin up, or lean against your head. You can close your eyes, as long as the Bible is in view. That way the preacher will probably think you're praying. Also, you'll be ready if the preacher asks you to lead the closing prayer.

THREE: Have a friend be a watcher. Sit with someone who's sympathetic to your plight. Your spouse may not be the right person for this. You need a friend who will nudge you if the preacher seems to be looking in your direction a lot. Make sure a Bible is open on your lap, or is prominently in view. Your
friend can rouse you so that you can say a quick "Amen" and get right back to your nap.

FOUR: Don't sit on the back pew. Believe it or not, this is the first place preachers look for sermon slackers. If you sit in the first or second pew, you can actually get more sleep in because preachers will normally look right over you.

FIVE: Don't sleep through the entire sermon. After all, the preacher has something from the Lord you probably need to hear. But when you've heard it, you have no further obligation to stay awake. Still, if you can be awake for at least some of the sermon, you can then refer to it when you're leaving the church building and shaking the preacher's hand. "Wonderful sermon, Preacher! I especially enjoyed the part where. . . ."

So, there you go. Hope this doesn't fall into the wrong hands.

(This article is an adaptation of an article in the January/February '08 issue of Homiletics magazine. Author unknown.)