The secular world is beginning to recognize that the secular equivalent of a Christian quiet time is an ideal way to start the day. As Christians, we neglect that great blessing that can be ours by having a quiet time first thing in the morning. While mornings can be stressful, there are some good reasons to have your quiet time in the morning. Here are five reasons why.
1. It’s the one time you have most control over
I spoke to someone recently who told me they did their Bible reading in the evening after they got home from work. After this person had told me their reasons why this was the best time, he added that sometimes he was exhausted and fell asleep, other times his children or wife need him, or he had responsibilities. Because of these things, he didn’t have a consistent quiet time.
My friend had all the best intentions of setting aside this time, but there were several things he needed to do. First, he needed to tell the rest of his family that he was setting this time aside for time with the Lord. If we don’t do this, other people will have expectations of us which create implicit responsibility on our part to do what is necessary to fulfill those expectations. If we take the time to spend with the Lord early in the morning, others don’t have expectations for us so that we can have uninterrupted time with the Lord.
We also need to be able to determine the amount of time we spend in our quiet times. It’s hard to have a meaningful quiet time without having a set amount of time reserved for this purpose. To say, “I’m going to do my Bible reading” often means that at best all that will happen is we will quickly scan through a passage. It is too easy just to read (or scan), close our Bibles and say we were successful. But if we set aside some time, e.g. 30 minutes, we can spend that time in a combination of activities that complement each other, such as reading, prayer, journaling, etc., and provide us with more value. Getting up 30-60 minutes earlier allows us to use our time with the Lord in this way.[shareable]A morning quiet time can help us to please the Lord first throughout the day, rather than merely to please ourselves[/shareable]
Putting aside a specific amount of time means we can make our quiet time a quality time with the Lord, without rushing, allowing us to bring our hearts into subjection to the Lord.
2. We think most clearly in the morning.
When we sleep, our brains process the information and events of the previous day leaving our mind relatively clear first thing in the morning. This process means that we are more likely to be able to focus and concentrate since we don’t have all those events and activities drawing our mind away from the implications of the day’s events.
Also, two Old Testament principles guide us to spend time with the Lord in the morning. One is the concept of offering our best to the Lord. The Old Testament sacrifices were to be animals without blemish (Deut 17:1) which pointed to a perfect Savior. The offerings of the Levites were the best of the best (Num 18:29). Restitution was to be made with the best of what belonged to the one making restitution (Ex 22:5). Second, is the idea of firstfruits. It was the first fruit of the flock and field that was to be offered in thanksgiving to the Lord.
If we apply it to our quiet time, we can offer both the best of our time and the first-fruit of our daily productivity to the Lord. We can do this not as an offering but in accordance with God’s desire that we walk in purity and holiness with Him. Mornings are not just the first part of the day we can offer and use wisely, but since we think more clearly it is also the best of our day.
3. It sets up your day
Because it is the best time for us to think, time spent first thing in the morning can be a powerful way to prepare us for the day. We can prepare ourselves for the challenges of the day, ensuring that our mind and affections are set in the right place before we start. For example, we can think through how God wants us to prioritize our values so that we seek first His kingdom and righteousness as a matter of priority. A morning quiet time can help us to please the Lord first throughout the day, rather than merely to please ourselves (2 Cor 5:9, Gal 5:17). When we focus on what pleases the Lord first by taking in His word and thinking about it carefully, we will be successful in His eyes (Josh 1:8).[shareable]If we live each day well for the Lord, we will experience the satisfaction and joy that comes from holiness[/shareable]
We all know that challenges will confront us during the day, and we can sometimes even predict what these will be. Having our quiet time in the morning allows us to think about these challenges ahead of time and consider how the Lord would have us respond to them as they arise. Got a difficult coworker? How does the Lord expect you to love them? How can you practically do that today? This level of specificity can be a powerful way of avoiding particular sins we would otherwise fall into. The more specific we are with our heart and actions, the more we can put on the actions that are right in His eyes (Col 3:5, Eph 4:24).
4. A day well lived is rewarding
The benefit of a well set up day is that it helps our day to be more fully pleasing to the Lord, and this provides its own reward. In Paul’s prayer for the Colossians in Col 1:9-12, the result of walking in a manner worthy of the Lord is that we bear fruit, which includes joy and thanksgiving. This fruit of joy and thankfulness comes from a walk that is worthy of the Lord, a life (and a day) that is pleasing to Him. If we live each day well for the Lord, we will experience the satisfaction and joy that comes from holiness, even if our circumstances are less than optimal, because our love to please the Lord grows.
If we live one day well, this encourages us to repeat this the next day. Two days lived well contributes to a week lived well for the Lord, and a week leads to a month and a month to a year.
5. It provides opportunity for end of day review
Another benefit of having our time with the Lord in the morning is that it allows us to reflect at the end of the day. We can go back over the things we considered in the morning to see what worked, what was realistic and how we could have done things differently. If we think and pray about the main activities of the day, we can easily assess how well we performed those tasks. We can also consider the ways we responded that we thought about that morning, consider what went wrong and how we could do better next time.
Having assessed our day, we can close our day in prayer. We can give thanks to the Lord for the mercy and grace He has shown in that day. We can also ask for forgiveness for the areas we sinned in, and ask for His help to do what is right the next day. When we ask for help to do what is right, we have a clearer idea of what we should have done. We can then pray specifically that the Lord will help us to answer that person gently, or be more patient with that situation, or that we will trust the Lord’s plans when things are out of control.
[shareable]An end of day review… helps us to prepare for the following day[/shareable]
Do these reasons sound compelling? The answer to that question depends on how fervently you are seeking holiness. If you are striving for personal holiness, having increased clarity about your part of the process (Phil 2:12-13) allows you to participate with God by ordering your life in a way that is most advantageous to God’s purpose for you. His work in us can be most productive when we arrange our lives around it.
What the secular world is growing in its understanding of, Christians have been doing for centuries. In the busyness of the 20th and 21st centuries, the morning quiet time has begun to slide away. I hope these five reasons you should have your quiet time in the morning spark a new resolve for you.
[reminder]If you do your quiet time first thing in the morning, what benefits do you get from it?[/reminder]