In my early years as a new Christian, the virtues of a morning quiet time were often emphasized by my pastors and spiritual leaders. It became a very meaningful practice for me. Recently, I’ve often heard people reacting to this practice, feeling that it’s a rote activity without much depth.
As I sat to write this week’s post, I had a few ideas about what has been meaningful for me in my morning meeting with God these days. (And meeting with God midday, evening or midnight works just as well!)
First, the resource that has been providing the framework for my morning prayer has been The Book of Common Prayer. I’ve been especially grateful for the ACNA (Anglican Church in North America) 2019 edition that was finally completed and released last year. (You can download a PDF eBook for review from the link above).
I’m grateful for the gift of a historic and time-tested framework for prayer. I’m grateful for how this daily rhythm of prayer follows the church year. I’m grateful for a very helpful lectionary built-in to it. This and my Bible have been my daily companions morning by morning for a while now, both at home and when I travel.
As I thought further about meeting with God morning by morning, a few metaphors came to mind. These are how I envision my morning meetings with God in scripture and prayer.
Morning meetings with God are a meal. Literally. This way of engaging scripture, of being in the Presence, of receiving God nourishes my soul. I bring the hungers and thirsts of my soul to God and I find something good that feeds me.
Morning meetings with God are training. There are times, and plenty of them, when my “I don’t feel like it” feels stronger than my soul hunger for God. Distraction seeks to divert me from my morning seeking. Busyness and a very long “to do” list tempt me still to get going in the morning on my work.
But the dailiness of my prayer is training my will to persevere. The prayers I pray from this prayer book have been growing my vocabulary in conversation with God. They have been the meaningful repetition that my soul has desperately needed. They have been for me a river into which I can step that is already flowing before I pray a word.
Morning meetings with God are conversation with a Friend. As my mentor, Chuck Miller, so often said (and I’ve quoted him more times than I can count): “Prayer isn’t just something you do. It is Someone you are with.”
I’m not merely “doing a spiritual activity.” I’m sitting in the presence of Father and Son in the power of the Spirit. This is personal. This is relational. This is communion. This is conversation. I am actually meeting with the Living God.
Morning meetings with God are receiving an invitation. As a leader, I’m tempted to define my life mostly in terms of my activities. But as I said in An Unhurried Leader, leaders must also pay attention to their receptivities.
Before we speak we must listen. Before we go to work, we must come into the presence of God. Before we serve others, we must receive the service of Jesus in our lives. Before we bless others, we ourselves must receive the continual blessing of God.
It’s been a great gift in recent weeks to rise especially early to meet with God. (Sometimes I rise early because our old dog doesn’t have the bladder capacity to sleep through the night anymore!).
I hope you sense the joy of the Father’s heart and God’s invitation to you to come and meet with him.