What’s Your Morning Routine?
How does your typical morning begin? Is your morning routine hurried and hustled, or does it begin in the peace and calm of time with God? Rebekah Lyons wasn’t always a morning person. For years, the author and speaker experienced panic attacks and severe anxiety. But in the last few years, Lyons said the panic attacks faded. She said turning over her anxieties to God in surrender, plus having time alone in the morning, were “a game changer.”
If your life is feeling out of balance, and you’re stuck in some bad habits, check out her bestselling book Rhythms of Renewal (and her new Rhythms for Life journal + planner) in which Lyons chronicles just how routines and practices — what she calls rhythms — bring her peace.
“When we begin our days by spending time with God… it brings healing,” Lyons writes. “There’s no script, no race, no rules. There’s only peace, courage, and strength for the day ahead.”
Enjoy this exclusive excerpt…
The first hour of the morning is the rudder of the day.
—Henry Ward Beecher
Early mornings are my favorite. It wasn’t always this way. For years I rebelled against the six a.m. alarm of my youth. But as a mama of a toddler and teens, I’m now the first to wake, usually a few moments before dawn. I love when the house is hushed and reverent, and on the days I’m fortunate enough to catch the first glow of orange on the eastern horizon, I smile. I believe God grins back. Even when I’ve had a week wherein I can’t seem to get it right, Jesus is near.
Here are a few steps to my morning routine:
1. Kneel and Pray
Each morning, coffee brews, the comforting cadence of hot water dripping through freshly ground beans echoing in the empty kitchen. When it’s finished, I pour the coffee into a sealed tumbler to keep it hot as long as possible. I light a candle or start a fire, depending on the season. If it’s cold, I’ll spread a thick blanket in front of the fire and quiet my heart as I kneel in child’s pose, arms extended over my head, palms up.
A dog-eared book of liturgies is on our coffee table, gifted to us this past Christmas. Many mornings I whisper my favorite passage from Douglas McKelvey’s Every Moment Holy, to center my mind and heart.
Meet me, O Christ, in this stillness of morning.
Move me, O Spirit, to quiet my heart.
Mend me, O Father, from yesterday’s harms.
From the discords of yesterday, resurrect my peace.
From the discouragement of yesterday, resurrect my hope.
From the weariness of yesterday, resurrect my strength.
From the doubts of yesterday, resurrect my faith.
From the wounds of yesterday, resurrect my love.
Let me enter this new day, aware of my need,
and awake to your grace, O Lord. Amen.
Once here, in God’s presence, I feel no urgency to leave, as the prayers flow freely. I ask, listen, and wait. There’s no other place to be, naked and honest, but before the heart of our Father. In those moments, God sees our all, before the daily chaos and confusion, before any fear or delusion. There, he bends low to meet us in our intention. He gives strength to help us push through it all.
If possible, I start every day this way. Prayer grants me access to the Holy Spirit’s comfort, a balm that transcends time and space, reputation and race. Through these moments, Jesus repairs, restores, redeems, and resurrects.
Prayer grants me access to the Holy Spirit’s Comfort, a balm that transcends time and space, reputation and race.
2. Journal thoughts for the day
My morning routine starts with prayer because it leads me to comfort and shields me from the world’s spin cycle of striving, stress, and anxiety. It roots my day in fullness instead of scarcity.
When I’m well-rooted, I then turn to my journal.
We all journal in different ways, I suppose, but often, I’ll scratch out my ongoing dialogue with God. Each entry begins with the setting, the time, the date. As much as these entries help me discern the direction of any given day, I know they’ll serve as reminders of God’s faithfulness in the days to come. (My journal collection stretches back more than a decade.) I don’t stop with prayer and journaling, though.
3. Read God’s Word
Each morning, I turn to God’s Word, which nourishes my soul and fills me up after the previous day’s pouring out. Through the Scriptures, I learn who he’s made me to be. I learn how to live a life that looks more like Christ’s. I learn how to love others — my husband Gabe, my family, the world around me — well.
How do I approach the Bible? Each day is a little different.
Sometimes I take a passage and camp there, or a long section of Psalms, sometimes an entire book at a time in the Old or New Testament. But each day, this time in the Scriptures is like the table set by God in Psalm 23. It’s a feast the Father has laid out for me, offering me everything I will need as I set out for the rest of the day.
4. End with Gratitude
The last step of my morning routine is gratitude — giving thanks. It’s a practice that’s grown out of my time reading Scripture. The summer before I wrote this book, old worries began haunting me; I felt stress and anxiety setting in. But one morning, I woke with these words on my lips: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
As I spent time in God’s Word, I sensed the Holy Spirit inviting me to lay down my anxieties and to give thanks for the deliverance he was bringing, even if I couldn’t see it yet. And so I began my daily intention to offer thanks—thanks for the things that already happened, the things that were happening, and the things that would come. Culminating my morning routine with a short gratitude list and a closing prayer of thanks, I emerge ready to face the day.
MAKING SPACE FOR THE COMFORTER
I think of what Jesus said to his disciples in the upper room in what I like to call his “great commencement speech.” Over the course of that long meal, he washed his disciples’ feet, served them Communion, and told them everything they were going to need to know when the time came for him to return to his Father. This would be their last meal together before his arrest and crucifixion.
One of the six things he promised his followers was the gift of the Holy Spirit, the comforter and advocate. I think of this every time I create a space for God in my quiet moments before dawn.
Sometimes I begin the day overcome by grief, by insecurity, by discouragement, by loneliness, and all I want is to get on my knees and plead for grace and healing. There are days I need to process my failures from the day before. Sometimes I need encouragement for the day ahead. No matter the situation, though, I begin the morning anticipating a meeting with the Holy Spirit, the one who brings whatever comfort and direction I need. Even in my moments of tearful confession, He’s there.
God promises to be our comforter and help, but we have to give him an opportunity to do just that. If we don’t make space for him, if we don’t build it into our routine, how will he meet us where we need him most?
WHAT’S YOUR MORNING ROUTINE?
A morning routine sets the framework for our day. When we begin our days by spending time with God, with his comfort, his pace, his timing, it brings healing. There’s no script, no race, no rules. There’s only peace, courage, and strength for the day ahead.
God promises to be our comforter and help, but we have to give him an opportunity to do just that.
What’s your morning routine? Do you drag yourself out of bed late, slog through a rushed and harried process of getting out the door and entering into the demands of the day? Or do you take it more slowly, settle into God’s rhythm, and let his comfort dictate the pace? If you find yourself in the former camp, consider making a shift.
Get more sleep the night before so you wake bright-eyed, ready to spend time with your Creator. Meet him with expectation, ready to hear from him. Meet him in prayer, in journaling, in the Scriptures, in gratitude. As you meet him, expect him to bring comfort to your anxiety.
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If you believed you could start each morning in the comfort of God, how would you prioritize your time to make that a reality? Join the conversation on our blog!