It’s Easy to Be Spiritual in the Early Morning

Most mornings I get up at 5:45 to go running. For the past few months I have been taking a golden retriever, Achilles, who is currently residing at our house. Achilles and I head out to the running track while it is still dark. I run on the track. Achilles likes variety so sometimes he runs on the track and sometimes he runs on the grassy fields next to the track.

These early morning runs are great. My body goes into autopilot and my mind is free. I use that time to pray—adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication (the old ACTS method). It is dark, quiet and conducive to reflection. When I am finished running, Achilles and I head home.

Once home, I stretch, feed the dogs (we have three current residents), make breakfast (usually cereal and coffee) and spend time in the Word while I eat. It isn’t dark but it is quiet and conducive to reflection. Usually everyone else is asleep (except the dogs) or my son has already left for work.

After that I shower, shave, etc. and head off to work.

It’s easy to be spiritual in the early morning.

That is when my day begins.

There are temptations, frustrations, disruptions, distractions and interruptions. There are appointments, disappointments, and disillusionment. The calming influence of the early morning has been stolen from me by the busyness and activities of the day. And I think to myself . . .

It’s easy to be spiritual in the early morning.

So I try to bring the reflection of the morning into my day. I remember the gospel—that I am saved by the grace of Christ, undeserved but experienced.

I am being sanctified by the Spirit to be more and more like Jesus, and I have so, so far to go, but he will not forsake me.

The one who began a good work in me will bring it to completion in the day of Christ Jesus and I will live in the new creation with him forever.

I preach the good news of the gospel to myself in the same way that David spoke the good news to himself in Psalm 42:5: Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

While this gets my mind to where it needs to be, if I am going to be honest, I would have to say that it does not work every time. Sometimes the frustrations and disappointments win the day.

However, I plow through and remember that the next day Achilles and I will be back running in the dark, quiet and reflective morning. Because he and I both know . . .

It’s easy to be spiritual in the early morning.

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About Dr. John H. Harbison

Son of God, Husband, Father, Author of "Keeping Christ in Ministry,"Vice-President for Academic Affairs, College Pastor, Runner, Writer
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5 Responses to It’s Easy to Be Spiritual in the Early Morning

  1. In the early morning, exactly the very hours when Jesus arose and walked up the mountain to fellowship with the Father… Early morning indeed. Thank you, John, for the encouragement to meet the early hours in contact with God, to get us through the difficulties of the day with a broader and more triumphant mindset, for having spent the first hours of the early morning in fellowship with Christ and the Father.

  2. I am not so much for early morning myself, though I do try to start the day with memorization, while Kathryn does morning prayer. Running is out, not only physically but meteorologically – a foot of snow on the ground at the moment. I am trying to go more the Brother Lawrence route, though I am a mere beginner. Dallas Willard’s video series on hearing God has been invaluable – we are discussing it in our parish now. Perseverance is the key. Do not grow weary of doing good…
    Meanwhile, blessings on you and Achilles in your daily run.

    • I’m not a morning person by nature – I once lost a job from sleeping in too much and not going to work. But I have found the morning to be a time of blessing for me so that I desire what I get from it more than I desire more sleep (though sometimes it is tempting).

  3. For me, it is never easy to be spiritual, morning, noon or night. You are blessed if you have a window of opportunity where things are a bit easier. Keep on using it for all its worth.

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