is it a sin to fall asleep while praying

Is It a Sin to Fall Asleep While Praying?

Some Christians face the challenge of falling asleep while praying. As a result, they might ask, “Is it a sin to fall asleep while praying?”

Most of us, if not all, have fallen asleep while praying at least once or twice. Some are still struggling with it, and that they doze off, especially during the very act of prayer, troubles their conscience and makes them feel guilty.

Have you ever had such an experience where you intended to pray very well but sleep overcame you? 

I once went to pray with a friend, and we made plans to pray for three hours that night. I wasn’t particularly strong at that time. By 8:00 p.m., we started, but before we could pray for an hour, I started to feel extremely weak. Instead of standing and moving around like I had been doing earlier, I chose to kneel and pray. I quickly fell asleep as I knelt and woke up at 11 o’clock. That’s how I spent my three hours of prayer that day (I slept for two hours and then prayed for an hour), while my friend prayed for the full three hours.

So, there are a lot of things that can make us fall asleep while praying. It ranges from weaknesses to infirmities, but the question in this post is, “is it a sin to fall asleep while praying, or is it bad to fall asleep while praying?”

“Yes” and “No” are my answers

In this post, I am going to discuss 4 reasons why falling asleep while praying is not bad and 4 reasons why it is not also good at all.

Read also: 15 Obvious Reasons Why You Feel Sleepy While Praying

4 Reasons Why Falling Asleep While Praying Is Not Bad

1. It is better to pray a little than not at all.

There are certain people who, after they fall asleep, don’t normally wake up during the night. They won’t wake up before the sun rises, no matter how early they go to bed and, as a result, they always prefer to go to bed late. When a person who identifies as such, is extremely weak for whatever reason and feels tired in the late hours of the evening. Despite being weak, he should pray because that would be the best thing for him. That individual might nod asleep while praying, but I firmly believe that doing so would be preferable to not praying at all.

However, staying in prayer despite distractions, including sleep, is the best method to learn how to pray for a long time.

Let me take, for example, a Christian training himself to pray all night. Do you think he would succeed at the first attempt? It is more likely that he would pray, sleep, pray, sleep, pray, and so on until morning. 

Someone once said that rather than sleeping off while praying, it is preferable not to pray at all. He stated that he only prays to God when his eyes were clear. But I disagree with his belief. What I believe is that when you are strong, pray; when you are weak, pray.

Instead of not praying at all when weak, please pray and sleep off praying, for little is better than nothing.

2. It would be better to fall asleep praying than to fall asleep worrying or doing something worthless.

There are some Christians who, when faced with difficulties or afflictions, carry their burdens themselves. They, as a result, think into the night and sleep while worrying. But which one is better, to doze off while praying or worrying? 

St. Luke 22:45 And when he rose from prayer and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, (KJV)

Jesus, being in agony, prayed. But his disciples for sorrow dozed off. 

3. It is better to sleep before your Father, for we are his children.

God is our Father. we are his children. He knows us and even our weaknesses, for he remembers our frame. (Psalms 103:13-14). 

When we are sincerely weak, it is better to doze off in his righteous palm instead of skipping prayer. 

4. It might be for the sake of vision or revelation. 

Most people hear from God through their dreams. It is possible for someone to fall asleep while praying because God wants to speak to them.

Acts 10:9 says Peter became very hungry when he went up to pray on the housetop at about the sixth hour. While he waited for the food to be made ready, he fell into a trance (Acts 10:10). All these (hunger and trance) happened to Peter so that God might communicate with him. Likewise, one can fall asleep while praying because God wants to speak to him.

4 Reasons Why Falling Asleep While Praying Is Very Bad.

1. It can give the devil an upper hand.

Our arch enemy works incessantly to see that he achieves his aim. He accuses us before our God day and night. 

In the parable of the tares in Matthew 13:24, the sower sowed good seed (wheat), but his enemy succeeded in sowing tares among the wheat while he was asleep. 

The devil has sewn dangerous habits, sicknesses, etc. into the lives of many Christians because sleep always overcomes them when they go to pray.

Sleeping off while praying can make one lose a spiritual battle. 

Using Peter in Gethsemane as a case study. 

Matthew 26:40–41 (KJV), And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Jesus found his disciples sleeping while they should have been praying. He asked Peter, “Could you not watch and pray with me for at least an hour?”

I believe that Peter, because he failed to pray, yielded to the temptation of denying our Lord Jesus thrice (Matthew 26:69–75).

The time of prayer should be the most important time of our everyday life. As a result, the act of praying and fellowshipping with the Father should be done by a Christian, usually when he is most agile.

If you must prevail in prayer, you must keep sleep away from your eyes. The disciples slept that night, but Jesus didn’t. He watched and prayed, and he prevailed in prayer. 

Read also: Men ought always to pray: 11 reasons to be prayerful.

2. It can suggest irreverence to God.

When we sleep, when we come to pray, it can be an insult to God. This is mainly when it becomes a habit.

Prayer is one way we have fellowship with the Father. To show how important and dear God is to us, we are to try as much as we can to avoid dozing off.

3. It can be a strategy of the devil to prevent you from developing a terrifying prayer life. 

The devil is not just hard-working; he is also smart-working. He understands that the greatest way to learn to pray is to pray. And if we are to be Christians who spend quality time with the Father, we must be Christians who pray for an extended period of time, if not most of the time, then at least occasionally.

Sleeping while praying always happens when we decide to pray for an extended period. I would say that sleepiness is a strategy of the devil to hamper the prayer lives of Christians. 

If you are intentional about growing spiritually, you must strategize a means to keep yourself from dozing off during long prayers. But while you pray, if you discover you doze off from time to time, don’t get discouraged. Make a determination to tarry in prayer and don’t yield to the temptation of going to sleep when you ought to pray, because one can receive the grace to pray by praying.

4. It can show how little we value prayer.

A man who knows that a project we give him much gain, can deny himself sleep for several nights just to make sure that he completes the project. Students stay awake to read most nights, especially close to exams, because they know they would fail their exams if they fail to read.

Some Christians find it difficult to stay awake for even half an hour to pray, but they can watch a movie or play video games for up to five hours. Some people can converse for hours with a friend but struggle to communicate with God for even a short time.

I tell you the truth, when prayer begins to mean much to us, we shall not but stay awake to pray against all odds

Read also: The Prayer life of Jesus: 14 Life-changing Lessons to Learn

Is it a sin to fall asleep while praying?

Falling asleep while praying is not a sin, but it can lead to sin by making one unable to stand against temptation. It can give the devil an upper hand in one’s life and can also be a hindrance to developing a powerful prayer life. 

[Related article: Is it bad to sleep in church while the sermon is being preached]

But when one knows he should and can be awake praying, and allows himself to doze off while praying, he sins. 

James 4:17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it (NLT)

I believe this article answered the question.

What’s your opinion?

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