Why the best time to pray is right after waking up

God is always looking for ways to grace my life and only sometimes gathering my attention. I have been wondering about the best way to pray recently. You’d think it would be on my afternoon walk, after I’ve taken a nap and gulched down a pour-over coffee. There, you’ll find me arranging prayers together like poetry. They’re drenched in caffeine and theology. I am as attentive and grateful as I’ll likely be that day, and my prayers will always sound the coolest.

And that’s why the best time to pray is right after you wake up.

There we are: some kind of naked, smelly, and greedy for sleep. If we manage to get out of bed right away, our legs and hands are still caught in a drunken stupor.

And there I am: gut perched out, thinning hair tangled into alfalfa wisps, eyes bloodshot, mind lusting for a screen and my soul timid and thirsty like it’s never drank from grace. There is no time when I am poorer than when the day first greets me, and that’s why there is no better time to pray. I am not a courier who delivers paychecks. I am not a part-time youth pastor. I am not a deep thinker. I am not a writer. I am not a brother. I am not even a husband yet. I’ll put those identities on later that day.

There, as I take the 30-foot journey from bed to coffee grinder, I am nothing but a human being who reeks of bed sheets and belovedness. I’m a coward scouring my day for comfort and convenience. I am also desperately loved by God.

And so, tomorrow morning, when my alarm jolts me awake with its always-too-early jingle, I will be everything unpleasant. And then I will grumble as I let my knees sink into the hardwood by the edge of our bed. I’ll cup my groggy hands open, and then I will spend the next minute uttering prayers only a good God could love: artless and afraid, rambling and repetitive.

And I'll stand up a better man.


photo: kasey erickson, bird Savior