By definition, a nap is a short daytime sleep. Some are called power naps because they happen very briefly and rejuvenate the napper.
I’ve noticed that napping is not uncommon in worship services. It’s happened to me and to people I’ve been with both young and old. Let me say, it’s especially fun being the preacher when people fall asleep. Why? Because from a stage or platform you get a clear view of people who are fighting sleep or just giving in and “resting deeply in the Lord”. Of course, I don’t single them out since i don’t want to embarrass them but it’s funny sometimes to see them fight it and LOSE!
Honestly, I don’t mind if someone falls asleep during my sermon or message. I figure it’s not me who put them to sleep (at least I hope not). Rather they need a respite from a busy life, work, stress, late nights, early mornings or whatever. So, “a rest in the Lord” is fine with me.
Sometimes I see them sleep through part of a message (no, not because it’s so long) and then God wakes them up to hear the part that He wants them to hear.
I think God gives us naps as a spiritual rest in Him sometimes. We can trust Him, He wants the best for us and He knows (even if we don’t) how much rest we need.
Some cultures I’ve visited advocate a mid day nap. A time of siesta if you like. A rest prior to the remainder of the day. The older I get the more that makes sense.
In my earlier years, I scoffed at the idea of napping. Naps are for little children! But I find the more mature I become, the more likely I am to nap with little provocation. For no apparent reason, when they were little my children would break into skipping. For no apparent reason, I now will break into napping.
I willingly choose to stretch out for 15 or 20 minutes, sometimes reading or praying as I fall asleep. I wake up refreshed and ready for the rest of the day. Certainly better than struggling to stay awake over a few hours and yawning at people.
In Psalm 127:2, the psalmist records,
In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat –
for he grants sleep to those he loves.
Our choices to rise early or stay up late are called vain in that psalm. Our plans aren’t practical or helpful. But God has better plans. And I don’t think it just refers to night time hours. I think He grants us sleep in naps during the day. I believe God grants sleep to His people because He knows we need it and that there is spiritual replenishment as well as physical replenishment in that. It’s not something you can quantify but then again prayer and connection with God never are.
I can remember as a kid seeing my grandfather sitting in the living room in a comfy chair head back, mouth agape, sound asleep. Thought it was funny at the time. “Catching flies” we used to call it.
I think I’m gaining on his fly catching record.