Staying Awake

Tuesday, January 7, 2020
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Listen while you read: "There Is A Green Hill Far Away"1 (Lyrics)

Acts 20:8-12 – There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered together. And there was a young man named Eutychus sitting on the window sill, sinking into a deep sleep; and as Paul kept talking, he was overcome by sleep and fell down from the third floor and was picked up dead. But Paul went down and fell upon him, and after embracing him, he said, "Do not be troubled, for his life is in him." When he had gone back up and had broken the bread and eaten, he talked with them a long while until daybreak, and then left. They took the boy away alive, and were greatly comforted. (NASB)

I am not a morning person, and I used to dread 8:00 a.m. college classes. I would do everything to stay awake: drink coffee, tap my toe, chew on a mint, and take a walk at break time. It was still hard to stay awake and be alert. The story of Eutychus is odd, but it is an amazing tale of a boy falling asleep during the apostle Paul's nighttime sermon in Troas.

Paul visited Troas on one of his missionary journeys, and returning to the church there for one day only and expecting never to return, he led an all-night service, preaching for over six hours. The upper room was warm and crowded with Christians listening to Paul. It had been a long day, and maybe Eutychus had had a big supper! He fell from the windowsill to the ground and died instantly. Paul was able to revive him, with God's enabling power. The service re-commenced until daybreak!

Why did no one notice that Eutychus was sitting dangerously close to a window ledge? The child had put himself in harm's way, and no one noticed until it was too late. Probably, it was because the Christians at Troas that day were so intent on learning from Paul what it means to be the church!

Falling asleep in a church service isn't new, but we can be lulled to sleep by the same old songs, uninspiring messages, a choir that doesn't rehearse anymore, or a Sunday school that either no longer exists or is poorly prepared for. But do we get a good night's sleep by not staying out too late the night before? Do we prepare our hearts for worship, and come ready to meet with the Lord's family in praise? Are we noticing the children, the elderly, and the needy around us, and taking time to make them feel welcome and involved?

Prayer: Dearest Lord, inspire us by Your Holy Spirit to be prepared and eager to meet with Your church. Open our eyes to those who need encouragement and to feel included. Give us the words and welcoming smiles to welcome Your children into our churches. Amen!

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About the author:

Shirley Moulton <>
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for the challenging words, Shirley.

    Thank you for these reminders this morning!

    Thanks Shirley, for reminding us to give our best to God.

    Amen, Shirley! To God be the glory! Thanks for sharing this uplifting devotional with us. Blessings.

    Thanks, Shirley for this reminder of what it means to be the recipient of the message, concern for all those listening around us and the delight we can always take away from the inspiration that God has given to the messenger! Imagine having been able to listen to Paul! Grateful for YOUR inspiration in writing this lovely devotional.

    Good morning Shirley
    Good devotional this morning. I can certainly relate to your paragraph about falling asleep and what is happening in the church these days. I personally don’t have a problem with falling asleep, but sometimes I wonder.
    Thank you for writing.

    Hi Shirley
    Your devotional reminded me of when I was a young pastor – troubled when someone fell asleep during a sermon, feeling I was missing the mark.
    That summer, I attended a worship service led by my favourite, very experienced pastor. Two elderly people fell asleep during his most interesting sermon.
    I left that service convinced that if someone can fall asleep during a great sermon, I need not be so hard on myself when it happened to me!

    Dear Shirley,
    Keep up the good work, for God’s sake.

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