A new day, new battles. Actually, one battle that assumes different forms: I Want vs. I Should. The day’s first battlefield is your bed, and the first shot is fired when the alarm clock rings. I Want reaches out to hit the snooze button; I Should is ready to jump out of bed and take on another day.
That’s why the first instruction in the Code of Jewish Law is: “Be strong as a lion when you wake up in the morning to serve your Creator.” Because if you win this battle, the rest are lamb chops.
G‑d chose to return your soul to your body and grant you once again the gift of lifeHere’s some fodder for your cannon in those early morning forays: Think how, every night, your soul ascends to heaven to recharge. This morning, G‑d chose to return your soul to your body and grant you once again the gift of life—a sure sign that there’s a little dark corner left in this world for you to come and illuminate. G‑d trusts that you are up to the task.
Now verbalize it:
מוֹדֶה אֲנִי לְפָנֶיךָ מֶלֶךְ חַי וְקַיָּם, שֶׁהֶחֱזַרְתָּ בִּי נִשְׁמָתִי בְּחֶמְלָה. רַבָּה אֱמוּנָתֶךָ.
Modeh anee lefanecha melech chai vekayam, she-he-chezarta bee nishmatee b’chemla, raba emunatecha. (Click here for audio of a Modeh Ani song.)
I offer thanks to You, living and eternal King, for You have mercifully restored my soul within me; Your faithfulness is great.
These are the first words we utter every morning—while still lying in bed. Our first conscious moments are spent thanking G‑d for the gift of life. It doesn’t matter what we did yesterday or last night; nothing can taint those first innocent words that sit at our primal consciousness.
Still having a problem dragging yourself out of bed? Use your imagination. Picture yourself lying there while a king or head of state stands above you, waiting for you to get your act together to execute some critical mission.
Well, it isn’t a king or president. It is the one who creates kings, presidents, and the entire world at every moment—and you too. Again. Today.