Arise At Five

Posted: November 3, 2009 in advocacy, Blogroll, blogs, change, family, fatherhood, leadership, life, prayer

Every time I mention to someone that I wake up at either 4:30 or 5:00 a.m. the first question they ask me is “Why?”. Why would anyone who doesn’t HAVE to wake up that early do so? Apparently it’s OK for people who must be at work that early, but why punish yourself?


Become An Early Riser

I’m not naturally a morning person, though. Because I am a night owl, I presumed the move to early rising was going to be a struggle. It wasn’t. Now having made the shift, I am an early-riser evangelist, believing everyone should do it. And here are three reasons why:

  1. Spiritual Development. Most Christ-followers I know want a deeper relationship with God. We know how to do it – prayer, spiritual reading, silence and solitude, along with other spiritual disciplines – but most of us don’t have good time to do it. It’s not that we don’t have time altogether; we don’t have good time. The time we have for ourselves, after work and kids, church and life, we are often far too exhausted to do anything worthwhile. Rising early changes the scales in the direction of spiritual formation. When I wake up, before the kids, the dawn and the Dawn Rochelle (my wife), I have the best and most time – coffee aided, of course – to engage God. Getting up a little earlier affords me the opportunity to orient my life towards God.
  2. Knowledge is King. Another plus of arising at five is seeking and finding all the news that’s good to know about our world. Karl Barth once said that a good preacher prepares his sermons with his Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other. And he’s right. Each morning, I crack open my MacBook Pro, fire up my Google Reader and check all the news sites and blogs that I favor. Before 6:30 a.m. I’ve picked up leadership lessons from the likes of Michael Hyatt and Brad Lomenick; I’ve been introduced to ways of connecting others with what I’m doing through folks like Seth Godin and Chris Brogan, and I’m up to speed on national and international events thanks to,,, and Being on the west coast, most of what’s going to happen in the world has already happened by the time my neighbors wake up, but I’m ahead of the game. More than that though, throughout my day I don’t have to check websites, etc…once I arrive at the office, I can focus on being with people and tackling the day’s tasks.
  3. Family Harmony. Once our oldest daughter began school, we quickly realized that all four of us waking up, preparing and eating breakfast, brushing teeth and getting dressed at the same time was pretty tough. Now, I’m awake, coffee-fueled, fed and ready to go by the time the girls get up. This makes our mornings much less stressful resulting in better, less stressful mornings.

There you have it.  There are other reasons – such as a more productive workday and exercise – which serve as additional reasons to get up early, but I think you’re getting the point. My encouragement to you is to give it two-weeks, make a plan describing what it is you want to do with your time and stick to it. You’ll find that your bedtime comes earlier, but, most likely, it’ll be worth it.

  1. Since you like to quote Karl Barth, he was asked on his 80th birthday what he had learned over the years. He said, “Jesus love me this I know.” That was many years of study boiled down to a simple little song.

    I wake up between 3 and 4 every morning. It is like someone nudging me. I’m awake. It doesn’t matter if I am in another time zone in another part of the world or when I go to bed. I must get up and pray. In the stillness of the night I listen to God’s voice. Individuals will come to mind with their needs. I often can feel their pain and joys as I pray. These are individuals scattered throughout the world. I will think of Scripture as I will often email encouraging words to those whom I have prayed.

    “Be still and know that I am God.” During the Vietnam war I woke with tears streaming down my face. I could hear the mortar rounds going off. The faces of children appeared as they screamed for someone to save them. I prayed until I felt peace and knew that God was answering. A few days later I saw a picture of the same children’s faces in a newspaper. A marine unit had gone into the village and saved the children.

    I recently got rid of our television. It often would become a distraction in the early morning hours. Now, in this quiet time, I listen to God’s still small voice. The noise of the world so often distracts us from what is really important.

    Turn the news off and in the silence let God speak. Your world will be brought into perspective without the noise and you won’t miss a thing.

    Ken and Maggie
    “Going before God on behalf of others”

  2. David says:

    Good day, Mr. Palmer!

    Read this tonight after seeing your re-post on the Twitter. Good stuff! I actually wrote a similar article back in September. I love the feeling of getting several things done before I have to leave for the office. However, I have also discovered that I must plan WHAT I am going to do when I wake up or I end up wasting the time.

    Here is the link to the one I wrote and I added in a link to yours.

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