I’ve found I don’t do well if I sleep in. I’m not presenting this as an absolute, and please don’t throw the “Legalism!” slam on me. I’m just telling you what works for me and what I’ve found over the course of many years as a necessary ingredient in my spiritual growth: making an altar early.
I have friends who are adamant that the best time for them to meet with God is just before bed (even if that bedtime comes after midnight!) and I won’t argue with them over this. I’m thankful when anyone cracks open a Bible, or spends time in prayer, no matter when or where. And I know there are different seasons of life and sometimes true challenges to maneuver around in order to keep this in your schedule. I’m just sharing from my heart what I’ve found to be a necessary discipline for me.
I’ll never forget Henry Blackaby’s answers when I asked him about his commitment to this. I asked if he ever missed his daily devotional time and without batting an eye he responded, “No, never. I don’t want to miss it.” When I asked him what time he had it, he said, “Well, right now in my life it’s necessary to do it at 4 a.m.”
The Psalmist knew the joy of meeting early with the Lord:
“In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.” (Psalm 5:3)
“But I, O LORD, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.” (Psalm 88:13)
“I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Your words.” (Psalm 119:47)
The prophet Isaiah also mentions this:
“The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples, That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.” (Isaiah 50:4)
If I’m going to follow anyone’s example, the best One to watch in how to order my day is Jesus:
“In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.” (Mark 1:35)
“At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them.” (Luke 4:42)
I can’t tell you definitively why it matters so much that I rise early to meet with the Father, but I think it has something to do with my heart. Pushing aside the covers before dawn means going to bed early the night before, so really I’m preparing my heart before I even go to bed at night for meeting with God the next day!
It’s a priority thing.
And don’t my priorities reveal a little about where my heart is, what I love, what I’m devoted to?
When do you have your time in the Word?