Introductory Note:

Pastor and Renovaré Institute alumna, Rev. Laura Rasmussen, designed the beautiful spiritual practice below after experiencing God’s nearness and goodness in a particular way—through light. On a pilgrimage journey on the Camino Francés, Laura understood God inviting her to “always look to the light.” Laura writes about that experience here.

She has designed this practice to help us cre­ate rhythms in our lives where we pur­pose­ly notice the light out­side of our­selves and then look to the light of Christ with­in.

Grace Pouch
Content Manager

Jesus spoke to them, saying, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12


You are invited to interact with sunlight at three different points in one day. This will include the sunrise and the sunset. In these interactions, you will observe what your senses are experiencing and how it differs at each stage of the day.

Select a day in which you are available to observe the sunrise, midday sun, and sunset. Each observation can happen in a different place. You will need to determine what time the sun will rise and set in your area on the day you choose. You can find this information on most weather websites and apps. Please plan for travel time, if necessary. Overall, this practice can take less than an hour of time divided up into the 3 segments. Each segment suggests a minimum amount of time.

You’ll get the most out of this practice if you are able to do it more than once, but don’t worry about trying to schedule these full-day experiences back to back. This practice is meant to be life-giving and not to cause stress. Plan in cooperation with your schedule. If the day you choose turns out to be a cloudy day, still participate in the practice. There can be valuable observations and reflections even with clouded and filtered light.

Some of the questions through this practice will resonate with you and some may not. It’s ok if you don’t connect with all the questions. Consider each question, but don’t force yourself to spend much time on the questions that are not connecting with you. 

After you’ve experienced the practice in its entirety a couple of times, you may find yourself being drawn to a particular segment(s) of this practice. Feel free to practice the different segments as you like and even create new segments at different times of sunlight (golden hour or moonlight). 



(15 minutes excluding travel time, or 30+ with additional reflection questions):

  1. Arrive at your selected spot 10 minutes before the sunrise and get comfy.

  2. Sit quietly for a minute; settle yourself to be at peace with your surroundings.

  3. Slowly offer this prayer (aloud or in silence):

    Lord, I woke up this morning and came to this place to watch the sunrise in Your presence.
    As I see and feel the early morning rays of faithful light break free from the horizon, will you also help me to recognize how Your light faithfully breaks free of restraints to shine on, in, and around your creation.
    Today, I offer myself to attentively receive the gift of light.”

  4. Sit in silence and observe the atmosphere as the sun nears and breaks the surface of the horizon, with a loving reminder not to look directly at the sun:

    • How would you describe the light that is present around you?
    • What colors do you see?
    • What is illuminated or highlighted by the present light?
    • What is changing as the light nears the break of the horizon?
    • What do you hear?
    • What emotions do you feel as the sun comes up?
    • How do your skin and eyes feel as the sun’s light touches them?
    • How is the atmosphere changing?
    • Do you see shadows beginning to cast?
    • Did you notice a moment when the rising sun was too brilliant to look at?
  5. Offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God for some or all of the following things:

    • The presence of light
    • The faithfulness of a sunrise
    • Your experience of being here right now for this sunrise
    • The hope you have of the light being with you wherever you go

Additional Reflections (as time allows)

  1. Imagine — if you were able to hear” a sunrise, what do you think you would hear? If you were able to smell” a sunrise, what do you think you would smell? If you were able to taste” a sunrise, what do you think you would taste?

  2. Sense — Was there a moment when you felt an emotional response to the sunrise? If so, what was happening in the changing light and what were you feeling within yourself?

  3. Ponder — Read Exodus 33:17 – 23. Did you experience God’s brilliance through the experience of a sunrise? How might this morning’s experience remind you of Moses’ experience on the side of the mountain?

  4. Plan — How can the presence of the sun become a reminder of God’s presence with you?


(10 minutes — 30 minutes):

  1. Find either a sunny place to sit outside or a window you can sit near and observe the sunlight.

  2. Sit quietly for a minute and observe the brightness and effect of the light

  3. Quietly say this prayer by Cristina Rosetti (repeating again if you like):

    Open wide the window of my spirit, O Lord,
    And fill me full of light.
    Open wide the door of my heart,
    That I may receive and entertain you with all my powers of adoration.”

Additional Reflections (as time allows)

  1. Imagine a window within you and Jesus’ light pouring into you.

  2. Imagine a door within you, wide open, and Jesus the source of all light, enters in that door.

  3. What feelings do you have as you imagine that window and door being filled with the presence of Jesus’ light?

  4. Silently, and with your own words, express those feelings with God.


(15 minutes excluding travel time, or 30+ with additional reflection questions):

  1. Arrive at your selected spot 10 minutes before the sunset and get comfy.

  2. Take a minute in silence to adjust to this space and experience.

  3. Observe the colors and effect of the light. How is it changing?

  4. Reflect on your day: Bring to mind your experiences of being with the sun through the day. 

    Bring to mind your experiences of being with the sun through the day
    -What are some of the moments that stand out in your memory?
    -What do you remember? 
    -How did you feel? 
    -What was the light of the sun like? 
    -What were your thoughts? 
    -How would you describe God’s presence with you in those moments?
  5. As the sun is setting:
    In your own words, offer a prayer including some or all of these points:

    Praise God’s faithfulness

     -When you saw God’s presence and when you did not

     ‑When you felt God’s presence and when you did not

    Thank God for this day

      ‑For being able to journey through the day with the sun

     ‑For the ways God met you in the day

    Thank God for being the light of the world, for being the light of your world. Ask God to help you carry within you the light you experienced today.

    Close by praying:
    God, one day we will not need the sun or even a lamp to see by, because we will fully be in Your presence and You will be all the light we need. Until that day comes, thank you for giving us the sun by day and the moon by night to find our way with You. Amen.”

  6. If you like, sing to God (out loud or in your mind) a doxology or benediction hymn you know.


    Take some time in the following couple of days to intentionally think about and reflect on your experience.

    1. What moments from the day’s exercise linger in your memory?

    2. Did you feel your heart warmed through any of the experiences? How?

    3. Visually, how do you remember the sunlight at different stages of the day? How may the colors, brightness or intensity of the light remind you of God’s presence with you?

    4. How do you remember the feel of the sun on your skin and in your eyes at different times of the day? Do you feel the presence of that light still with you? In that same way, do you feel God’s presence within you the way you may have experienced it that day?

    5. If you can go back and re-experience any moment from this exercise, which one would it be? Why?

    6. Were there stages of sunlight that were comfortable for you? Were there stages of sunlight that were uncomfortable for you? Do any of those experiences remind you of ways you have felt comfortable or uncomfortable in God’s presence?

    7. Have you been more aware of the sun in the days since this exercise than you would be on an average day?

    8. What are some ways the sunlight can help remind you of God’s presence in your ordinary daily moments?


    1. Are there parts of this exercise you want to practice again?

    2. How might you practice one (or more) of these activities in future days?

    3. Are there other times of sunlight you would like to add to this practice? How can you practice observing that time of sunlight?

    4. Is there a special place where you’d like to recreate this exercise?

    Photo by Kevin Johnston on Unsplash

    Text First Published August 2022 · Last Featured on August 2022