Recently my youngest son hasn’t been sleeping as well as I’d like, so he is either taking a long time to get to bed, waking up in the night, or bursting into our room at 5am in the morning! Combined with not resting enough that has made me very tired, which is also why I haven’t been blogging a whole lot - as I don’t have the mental energy for it.
But it’s interesting to see the effect on my devotions. I keep a spiritual journal, to write down what God is teaching me as I read my Bible, and over the last couple of weeks there have been a lot of very short entries!
I have mainly been spending time with God in the afternoon because of kids getting up in the night making me get up too late in the morning. But this morning I actually managed to get up and read my Bible first thing and was so blessed. I covered a page and a half of my journal with notes from what I learned, where most days recently it has been a couple of lines. And it brought home to me what a difference it can make where you put your time with God in your schedule.
Because it is nearly always like that. If I do my devotions in the morning I usually get a lot more from reading, and manage to pray with more clarity. In the afternoon I feel quite exhausted from managing three small children and the house, and in the evening I’m even worse, so of course it has a knock on effect!
I am convinced that the key to living a victorious Christian life is spending good quality time with God daily – in His Word, and in prayer. Because the Bible is where we learn how He would have us live, and prayer is how we can depend on His power and strength. And what time you choose to read and pray can make a big difference to how well you do it.
I am not saying it should be in the morning (though I do think the morning is usually better!), but I think if you really want to live a life that is close to God and where you grow in faith and in knowledge of His will, then you need to find the best time, whenever that is. For different seasons of life it can change too – depending on what else is going on.
So I think we need to commit to giving God our best, making a daily appointment in our diary with Him for the best time in our day that we can. Also if it is possible to do it in the morning, by going to bed half an hour earlier or whatever else it takes, I believe it is far better because:
- We are more alert in the morning, having just slept and are then able to focus and learn better.
- We need to pray for help to meet the trials and temptations of the coming day.
- We are more able to fit it in elsewhere if we fail to keep the appointment in the morning than we are if it is later on in the day and we miss it.
- We are less likely to be interrupted because there is less going on first thing in the morning.
- We are less likely to get sidetracked because there is less to think about.
- We are then able to meditate during the day on what we read in the morning.
Also there is Biblical support for it:
Jesus rose early to pray
Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. Mark 1:35
David prayed in the morning
My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up. Psalm 5:3
And then a quote from my hero, Robert Murray M’Cheyne, who I never fail to read about without being inspired:
‘I feel it is far better to begin with God – to see His face first – to get my soul near Him before it is near another… If I have slept too long, or am going on an early journey, or my time is in any way shortened, it is best to dress hurriedly, and have a few minutes alone with God, than to give it up for lost. But in general, it is best to have at least one hour alone with God, before engaging in anything else.’