I remember being challenged with the importance of daily devotions as a high school student. The thought of getting up early to read and pray was a hard sell at the time. My friends and I conveniently agreed that the important thing was that we did our devotions – not when we did our devotions.
And yet Jesus’ example often troubled me. He would slip away early in the morning while it was still dark (Mark 1:35). There were a great many demands on Jesus’ time and so he prioritized prayer in the morning before he was distracted from it.
Now my schedule is not nearly as demanding as Jesus’ schedule. But I am finding that there are still countless demands on my time. E-mails are waiting to take me a thousand different directions. If I don’t prioritize my time with God, any number of distractions will keep me from it. Over the years I have come to value time with God in the morning.
I have also found that my time with God in the morning tends to shape and set the tone for the day. German pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, noted this a number of years ago when he wrote, “The prayer of the morning will determine the day. Wasted time, which we are ashamed of, temptations that beset us, weakness and listlessness in our work, disorder and indiscipline in our thinking and our relations with other people very frequently have their cause in neglect of the morning prayer. The organization and distribution of our time will be better for having been rooted in prayer.” (Life Together, 71)
What is the current state of your relationship with God? How is that relationship being nurtured through Scripture and prayer? How often does the day get away from you? How could the orientation and trajectory of your day be altered by spending time with God in the early morning?
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Great encouragement to me today!!
This is probably 100% correct and is very convicting. As a night owl who struggles to get going in the morning though, I *still* selfishly and conveniently hope there is flexibility as long as it gets done. This drove some good discussion in our first life group meeting.