“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” —Psalm 5:3
For much of my life, I’ve had on-and-off problems falling asleep at night. I’m susceptible to a racing mind, and late at night is apparently as good a time as any to solve the world’s problems, re-litigate past disagreements, or thoroughly explore my many regrets. Add to this that I often stay up too late looking at screens and I have a recipe for a bad night’s sleep.
One of the knock-on effects of having trouble falling asleep is that early morning is often not my best time. When I haven’t gotten enough good sleep, I often sleep later than I intended or drag myself out of bed in a haze.
And this is a problem for several reasons, not least of which is that the morning is an important time for my relationship with God. In Psalm 5, David writes about speaking with God in the morning. Of course, conversation with God can happen at all times, but it seems like there’s something special about the morning.
I think it’s like a lot of other things: What happens first tends to establish the tone for what happens later. When we greet someone warmly, we set the tone for a positive interaction. When our tithes are the first thing we do with our income, we set a tone of gratitude and generosity. When we wake up in the morning and raise our voices to God, we establish an awareness that our lives are being lived with and for God.
In the Jewish calendar, a day really starts with sundown. Keeping that in mind, it seems even more important to start the day well with what I do in the evening as I prepare to sleep. Good rest and morning conversation are the start to a day lived joyfully with God. I’m going to try to take this seriously as a real part of following Jesus.