In Chapter 4 (“The Greatest Moment of Your Life’) of God is Closer Than You Think, author John Ortberg counters our Western cultural concept that day begins with sunrise with the ancient rhythm of days, where at creation “there was evening and there was morning”. Actually, then, the first task of our day is to go to sleep! As we sleep, God goes to work. The world goes on even though we’re not there to supervise. Perhaps, o our chagrin, everything doesn’t depend on us!
Furthermore, the author asserts that getting enough sleep is an act of discipleship. As Brother Lawrence wrote in Practicing the Presence of God, “those who have the wind of the Holy Spirit in their sails glide ahead even while asleep.”
Most importantly, Pastor Ortberg observes that the habitual attitude with which we go to sleep becomes the norm for us and sets the tone for the next day. Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Life Together) wrote that the start of our day shouldn’t be burdened with concerns we’ll face during the day:
“The Lord stands above the new day, for God has made it . . . all restlessness, all impurity, all worry and anxiety flee before him. Therefore, in the early morning hours of the day may our thoughts and our many idle words be silent, and may the first thought and the first word belong to the one to whom our life belongs.”