Now at 5 am if I am lucky enough to creep downstairs without waking my kids, with anticipation I sit down with my Bible for prayer, scripture reading and meditation. I love rising when it is still dark and then watching the sun paint the landscape in brilliant colors outside our windows. At a time years ago when I would be falling asleep, I am rising to worship and receive spiritual direction from my Lord. A definite difference! Perhaps I'm getting old, I'm not sure, but I prefer the latter much more over the former experience of morning's early hours.
Lately it seems like almost everything I've read has mentioned these delicate hours of dawn that can be such a refreshing source of spiritual renewal for those seeking God's presence and truths, so I figured I'd share a couple of them in this post.
In Thomas Merton's book, The Inner Experience, one of the tips he gives those who aspire to commune with God at a personal, spiritual level, is to seek him in the early hours of morning. Of these hours he writes:
Dawn is by nature a peaceful mysterious, and contemplative time of day-a time when one naturally pauses and looks with awe at the eastern sky. It is a time of new life, new beginning, and therefore important to the spiritual life: for the spiritual life is nothing else but perpetual interior renewal. p. 137
In another book I am finishing up, Crabgrass and Oak Trees, author Jonathan Almanzar shares this:
There is something very mystical about early morning. The virtuous woman rises while it is still dark to bring food to her household; Joshua rose while it was still dark to see the face of Jehovah; Moses rose while the moonlight shone to find where His God was taking him, and even Jesus Christ, the Son of God, left while it was still dark to inquire from His Father....
...The times when I have risen before those in my household, the times I have slipped off in secret to spend time with The Father, were times my roots grew deep and truth took hold of my life. These were the times when things I had struggled with for years suddenly disappeared. Truths I longed to live suddenly became part of my life, without me really knowing how or why...Rising early gives me the opportunity to meditate....Our times of solitude and meditation are the times when our roots can plunge deep.
I can relate to much of what Almanzar had to say. I know from my experience, when I rise in the early hours of the morning to seek God, I am always left with a deep peace that spreads itself like a cloak around my senses, bringing me a strong sense of internal awareness that has a lasting effect and gives birth to contemplative experiences throughout my day. It's a time my soul works through the tangled web my mind weaves around it, freeing itself from illusions, attachments and at times, by God's great grace, seeing the things in my life with an almost blinding brilliance of clarity. It certainly is a sacred time.
Have you experienced the sacred hours of morning? Or is there another time in your day that you choose to set aside to spend with God and grow spiritually? Please share your thoughts! :)