My heart is confident in you, O God; no wonder I can sing your praises with all my heart! Wake up, lyre and harp! I will wake the dawn with my song. I will thank you, Lord, among all the people. I will sing your praises among the nations. For your unfailing love is higher than the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens. May your glory shine over all the earth.
Relate: The drums start at 2:20. Most years I ignore them the first day or two and then I have grown used to them enough that I sleep right through them for the rest of Ramadan. Not this year. This year I have been up with those drums and had my breakfast and prayer time a few hours earlier than normal. Let’s be honest, I have not always stayed up the entire time. More than once I have been back in bed around 5 AM and getting a couple more hours in before it is time to start my day “for real”.
There is something beautiful about getting up at such an ungodly hour, grabbing myself a cup of joe, putting on some worship music, and then just sitting there and letting the song soak through me. Granted, it usually takes the downing of a second or even third cup before I can appreciate the beauty, but still. By the time the sky is starting to lighten up and the birds are chirping, I am awake enough to start reading and studying my Bible without fear of falling back into the land of Nod. I don’t have the most beautiful of views from my place, but if I make my way up to the roof, I can enjoy the near silent sounds of a waking city while watching the golden dome peek its way over the skyline. There is a peace, there is a confidence in the goodness of God, that can only be found with the dawn.
React: I am not by nature a morning person. I am by discipline a morning person. If I had my way, early morning would be waking up any time before noon. There were four reasons I realized that it was absolutely essential to start disciplining myself into getting up earlier. The first of these is science. Those that study the brain and memory say that the best way to retain information is to study it right before sleeping and to study it again as soon as possible after waking. So… a brief time with God before bed and an extended one with Him early in the morning is the best way to make sure He stays first in my life.
The second and third reasons came from examing myself. I have found that I work best when I have a consistent routine in my life. Between working full time at a school and nearly full time in the ministry, I have little control over what my schedule looks like day to day, evening by evening. But I have full control over my mornings. If I want to have a consistent daily time with God, it must happen in the mornings. Also, I have found that I am much more likely to give into the temptation to sin late in the evenings than any other time of day. Be it depression, gluttony, lust, pride… the thoughts and the pull towards sin seems to get stronger and stronger as the night wears on. And the best way to make sure I am going to bed before this can happen is to make sure I am waking up when I should. If I am up before six in the morning, it is awfully difficult to stay up past ten at night.
The fourth, and most important, reason for why I have disciplined myself into being a morning person is that the Bible says I should. Psalms 108 is just one of many scriptures talking about spending time with God early in the morning. You can find similar verses throughout the Psalms. It is almost as if God knew the science of thought and He knew human nature long before we came on the scene. Perhaps that is because He created them both? Whatever the reason, God knows what is best for us and so He guides us towards a lifestyle that would help us make the best of our lives.
Now, it is almost 9PM and those drums… they come awfully early. So I’m off to bed.
Thank you for those drums. Even though it is the most difficult thing to do, thank You for calling me forth from my bed and into Your presence. Thank You for the peace and beauty You have hidden in the dawn. Help me, help us all, to be ever more consistent in the discipline of investing my mornings in Your presence. And as we do, I pray that You would meet us there.