In the morning, when I rise

We ought to see the face of God every morning before we see the face of man.

American evangelist and publisher Dwight L. Moody was born on this day in 1837 (died 1899).

I am the anomaly in our household. I like being up early.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy hitting the snooze alarm just like anyone else. But once I’m up with coffee in hand, I like the quietness and the time to read, meditate, and pray.

Truth be told, it’s not always quiet these days when I get up. The wife and the son both have to leave by 6:00

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a.m. for school. And I’m usually gone with them on my way to the gym.

So, to find that time of quiet, I have to get up at a significantly earlier hour. It works most mornings, unless I wake the dog up who needs to go out.

Then there’s the cat who has a 24-hour need to be in, to be out, to be fed, to be in our son’s room, to be let out of our son’s room…let’s just say he’s not conducive to quiet mornings, or quiet anytimes.

Most days I try to begin my day with a time of reading and prayer. It’s a practice I started in college. And no, I’ve not been consistent over the years. I wasn’t even consistent in college.

Like that quarter my junior year when I’d get up at 7:50 and throw on jeans and a hoodie and slink into my science class.

That’s another story. And one that likely won’t be told because I slept through most of it.

In fairness, most mornings came after a night of either being in rehearsals or being in the yearbook office where I was the editor. And, a darned good one, I might add.

On review, it occurs to me that most mornings still come after a night of rehearsals or editing. That much, at least, is consistent.

While I’ve not been consistent with the early mornings over the years, I find that getting up early for time to read and be quiet before heaven is the best way to begin my day.

Much like I feel on those days I don’t make it to the gym. If I don’t get this time in first thing it gets lost throughout the day. Or I find myself wanting to squeeze it in just so that I mark it done on the task list.

But I know, as a follower of Christ, that this time is important.

In the garden, Jesus said to his sleeping disciples “Cannot you pray with me one hour?”

It reminds me that I shouldn’t be too hard on myself on those mornings when I just can’t quite stay awake.

That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try.

This year I’m doing some different reading. I wrote about it earlier. I’m working my way through The Bard and the Bible, and I’m re-reading The Story: The Bible as One Continuing Story of God and His People.

Last year I read through the entire Bible. Some of those Old Testament mornings were quite challenging. A lot of times the prayers would become “I don’t get this…”

Your faith system may vary. Or you may not have a faith system.

Still, that aspect, and discipline, of finding a time to be quiet, to get centered is important. For me, it’s essential.

On the best of days I go from that to the writing of at least a thousand words, and then to the gym.

I’m not perfect, I don’t make it every day. But the day goes better when I do.

As I’ve written, this is my year to get things done. You may wonder when I find time to do all that I’m doing.

I’d wonder too, if I had the time.

And you may think that with all I’ve got going on that carving out the time to read and to pray isn’t productive. To the contrary.

Martin Luther said, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”

Granted, Martin didn’t have the Interwebz or Netflix to distract him.

But that’s sort of the point of beginning the day in the quiet, without distractions. When things are ordered, and priorities are established, then even if the day doesn’t go better, at least I’m prepared for it.

It’s not a magical formula. I don’t get more time because I do this.

But, maybe I get better time.

Above all it reminds me of who I am, and where my priorities lie.

I’ve got a lot going on. You know that.

So, there’s a lot to be said for going back to the source.

I don’t always get it right.

But when I make it a priority to start my day this way, I get it better.

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