Sleeping Saints

by David Padfield

Preachers have always had to put up with those saints who sleep during services. Eutychus, who fell out of the window in Acts 20, is probably the best known. While in Troas, Paul preached in a upper room where the church had gathered together. Luke tells us that "in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead" (Acts 20:9). I have met a few folks who had a habit of "sinking into a deep sleep" during periods of "worship."

Have you ever wondered why these people decide to catch up on their sleep while the gospel is being preached? It could be the preacher is boring. However, it has been my observation that "sleeping saints" don't really care who is preaching they're going to sleep regardless. Let me offer a few suggestions as to why they sleep:

The Late Show

Those who stay up Saturday night to watch the late, late show usually can't keep their eyes open on Sunday morning. Their problem is one of priorities. The gospel of Christ rates well below reruns of World War II movies and the latest slasher films.


I've known several brethren who could not stay awake because of their medication. This is not their fault, they try their best to participate and I admire them for attending in spite of physical infirmities.

Lack Of Interest

Here is the major cause of "sleeping sickness." If someone were to lecture on how to make a million dollars in real estate, these folks would find a way to stay awake, even if they had to put toothpicks in their eyelids to keep them open.

Working The Midnight Shift

I truly admire those who put in a full nights work and get home just in time to get ready for morning services. Many people would stay home and sleep, but these brethren really want to worship God. They show their family and their brethren where their true priorities are.

What should we do with "sleeping saints"? When I lived in Evansville, Indiana we had one man who was a perpetual embarrassment, not only because he slept during services, but sometimes he even snored. One Sunday he slept through all of the sermon, the invitation song and the closing prayer as well. Someone woke him up as we were leaving the building. One lady suggested we should have just turned out the lights and left him there. I had another idea, but it involved the use of Crazy Glue, and some thought it was not appropriate.

If a person sleeps during periods of "worship" those who sit near them need to find out why. Those who sleep during services are a hindrance and detriment to the growth of any congregation. Visitors and our own children can see their lack of commitment to the Lord.