‘I hate people who sing in the morning’, muttered Snoopy the dog. Perhaps Charles Schulz got the idea from Proverbs 27:14, which says, ‘He who blesses his neighbour with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, will be counted as cursing’?
Mornings. They can be a thermometer of where we are at. The older we get, the slower we can be to get going in the morning. And, if we have ever suffered from depression, we will know that mornings can be difficult. It takes an act of will-power to get out of bed — mind over matter, and mind over mattress!
Mornings begin, of course, when the sun rises each day. And why does the sun rise each day? Because God the great creator has ordained it so: ‘while the earth remains, seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease’ (Genesis 8:22).
Most Christians will testify that mornings hold special blessings from the Lord. In the quietness before dawn, we often in prayer sense the special, nearer presence of our God. David said ‘O Lord, in the morning Thou dost hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for Thee, and watch’ (Psalm 5:3).
The Lord Jesus, we are informed, used to rise early to pray. Mark 1:35 tells us, ‘And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed’. If this was the practice of the Redeemer, how much more should it be the practice of the redeemed? Horatius Bonar wrote:
Begin the day with God
He is the rising Sun
His is the radiance of the dawn
His the fresh day begun.
It is good — even the best — to begin the day with God in prayer. We can thank him for the night’s rest and for restoring us to life and consciousness again. We can thank him for watching over us while we slept, aware that, ‘He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep’ (Psalm 121:4).
And we can, in faith, commit the unknown day ahead to the Lord, aware that he already knows what will happen to us, for he has ‘foreordained whatsoever comes to pass’ (Shorter Catechism). God knows what lies ahead, but we don’t, so we commend ourselves to his mercy and entrust ourselves to his care.
We have our plans. We have our responsibilities. We have our difficulties. Perhaps we even have matters to face which make us afraid. We commend them all to the Lord and pray for his blessing, guidance, wisdom and grace. What we do for ourselves, we can also do for others. Before you leave your room each morning, therefore, ensure you stop to pray.
Our morning prayer should include praise and thanksgiving to God, because mornings, and our rising each morning, are continued evidences of his love and tokens of his favour. Each new day holds infinite potential. Each new day gives us a welcome new start.
By God’s grace, we do not have to be shackled by past failures. Looking to Jesus, we may say with Paul, ‘Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 3:13-14).
‘Each dawn he does not fail’ (Zephaniah 3:6). Each new day is a new opportunity to experience the goodness, grace and all-sufficiency of the God who is revealed in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. ‘For his anger is but for a moment, and his favour is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning’ (Psalm 30:5-6).
The fact that we are awake and alive each morning is tangible evidence that God has not finished with us yet. We are immortal until our earthly work is done. We have more to learn about his grace and goodness. We have new blessings to receive. We have further tasks to fulfil. We have a greater growth in sanctification to accomplish.
Lamentations 3:22-24 could be fitting to use as the first words we speak every new morning. They say: ‘The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him’.
‘Good morning?’ When we know God, the source of all goodness and who alone is intrinsically ‘good’, our attitudes to mornings are changed. Every morning is a good morning!
Under his providential care, every day can only be a good day, for under his all-embracing providence we can affirm, ‘We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose’ (Romans 8:28).
New every morning is the love
Our wakening and uprising prove;
Through sleep and darkness safely brought,
Restored to life and power and thought.
New mercies each returning day
Hover around us while we pray;
New perils past, new sins forgiven,
New thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven.
Only, O Lord in Thy great love,
Fit us for perfect rest above;
And help us this and every day
To live more nearly as we pray.