I’m not a morning person. Really, I’m not. I much prefer to work later in the day and into the evening, if necessary. But I don’t like to get up early in the morning. Even when I was heavily involved in the corporate world I didn’t like getting up early. I didn’t set morning meetings when I could avoid it and I learned early on that I was far stronger in the afternoons and evenings.
In fact, when I was in seminary, I made a commitment to Janet that my studies wouldn’t impact our day to day lives so I didn’t even start my homework until Janet went to bed around 11:00 pm each night. Then, I would work until 3:00 am or so to complete a Greek translation or some theology paper that had been assigned to me. In those days, I still had to get up early, 5:30 am or so, in order to be in my seat for the first class that began at 7:30 – about an hour away from where we lived. As I look back on those days, I have no idea how I kept up the pace for more than 3 years until I received my MDiv. degree, followed by my ordination. And Janet is very clear, even to this day, when she tells me that I received superhuman strength from God to accomplish my seminary studies.
I know many people who have their daily devotions early in the morning. For some inexplicable reason, they feel close to God and enjoy the quiet time before the start of the day. But I have always found the mornings a very lonely time of day. Getting up before there is even the slightest hint of daylight is just something that I have always found daunting. Even to do something that I enjoy, such as fishing, just isn’t worth the trouble and discomfort of rising extra early. I would prefer to pass…
Even now, as we approach 11:00 pm, I am writing and have just finished my Bible study for the day. But today in particular, I am beginning to get tired. That’s because, for all intents and purposes, I have been up since about 3:56 am this morning. That’s right – 3:56. I know it’s an odd time, but I looked at the clock enough that there is no mistake about it. And try as I might, I couldn’t get back to sleep. So I finally arose at 4:30 and headed to the kitchen to work on my Bible study lesson for this evening.
A strange thing happened while I was working. I started enjoying the quiet and the solitude of the very early morning. It’s true that I was studying the Bible, but I found that I was relaxed and accomplished quite a bit in the several hours that I was at the table. In fact, I even think that I understand why people look forward to their early morning time with God. However, on a day to day basis, I doubt that I could keep up a schedule of such early time with the Father – at least not without divine assistance.
It’s not uncommon for people to conduct their prayer and devotions before the start of the day. In fact, the Scriptures are full of references to people who held communion with the Father in the wee hours. Even Jesus was fond of going off by Himself to pray to His Father. Our verse for the evening highlights one of the times Jesus met with God. We are told, in Mark 1:35, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”
My encouragement this evening is that God is primarily concerned about your relationship with Him, regardless of the time of day that you pray and conduct your devotions. My prayer is that no matter what time you choose, you will be richly rewarded for spending quality time with God. By the way, the quantity of time isn’t nearly as important as the quality of time. So, for now, that’s the lesson for tonight. After all, I’m now really tired – it’s been a very long day. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…