Confessions Of A Bedside Slumberer


Anyone who has served a full time mission undoubtedly found themselves exhausted at the end of a hard day of walking the streets preaching and teaching. At bedtime I would kneel with my fellow missionary in prayer and then we would both retire, kneel beside our own beds and say our individual prayers. Not often but on more than one occasion I found myself falling asleep beside my bed while kneeling in prayer. I would awake with a start, check the clock and find that I had been sleeping on my knees for several hours. I would sheepishly apologize to the Lord, close the prayer and hope that my companion had not noticed my irreverence.

The perspective of my deed changed when a couple of other missionaries visited me one day and related in a almost hushed  tone how they had been told by another missionary how he awoke in the middle of the night to find his companion fast asleep at his bedside. He had fallen asleep during his prayers. His companion was so impressed with the fact that this missionary had given his all and was so exhausted that he had nothing left to give.

Later after they left I looked at my companion and said “Have you ever fallen asleep at the side of your bed while praying?” He replied “Yes but I was always ashamed of it!” “Me too!” I echoed. Funny I thought to myself how the same event can be looked at with such a different perspective. Perhaps I had not seen things in the right light.

” The Apostle Paul described the difference between earthly perspectives and eternal ones in these words: “We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:18) ( Dallin Oaks, Weightier Matters;  9 February 1999).

Perhaps I had been looking at a slumbering missionary in an “earthly perspective.” Not seen by me, in this instance, was the devotion of the heart of a full-time missionary. Seen was only the temporal sleeping human at the side of the bed. Sometimes our perspective can be very temporal.

Over the course of the centuries I am sure there had been many faithful apologist who have been seen by themselves, and others, as ‘bedside slumberers.’ Thank goodness the perspective of man is often not found to be that of the Lords else we all fall short!

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