Morning Prayer, Why?
Today we met at 5:30am to pray. It was early. REALLY EARLY. And I’m not going to lie, it hurt a little. A lot a little. There is something about waking up at 4am that just doesn’t seem right. And yet, we decided to wake up at this ungodly hour to devote ourselves to God. Why? Why morning prayer?
First. There is something about what you do you first that has significance. It’s the way we think about many things. Who do you look for first in a crisis? What’s the first thing you do when you’re stressed? What’s the first thing you do in the morning? For many, it’s pee. Or snooze. ^^ But what about after that? What do you really do first? Giving that first part of your day to God sets a tone for what follows. It also shows a priority. I might only be half-awake right now, but I’m half-awake for Jesus!
Distractions. Once the day gets going, it’s so hard not to get caught up. Once you’re out that door, you start thinking about class, work, assignments, people, responding to things, responsibilities. You get distracted. And it’s really difficult, if not impossible to get that time, focus, attention back on God. I’m not saying you can’t think about God throughout the day, read the Bible throughout the day, pray throughout the day…you should be doing that! But you must intentional carve out those moments of sustained time with God, and most of us just don’t have the capacity to do that well in the middle of our day. Setting aside that time in the morning, when the distractions of the day are not distracting us, helps us to connect with God easier.
Awake. Even though it might be hard for us to do regularly, there is no mistaking that when you wake up super early to pray, you’re awake! What I mean is that, during the day, and at night, it’s easy to drift off into a doze. But at such an obscene hour, your body just reacts in this way where it’s freaking out, wondering why you aren’t in bed. This might just be me, but when I wake up super early, I feel alert in a different way. Because I am so aware of how different my body feels at this hour, it gives me a strange ability to focus. You might be tired, but your tiredness gives you a sort of earnestness.
Together. We could be at home doing this, but we are doing it together as a church. Why not just pray from our own rooms at 9am instead? Well for all the reasons stated, but also, because we are human. Human beings were created to be in community. Even the super introverts. We also imitate the first disciples of Christ in meeting together to pray. And as we spend time in prayer together as a church, it allows us to spur each other on towards love and good deeds. When we pray together, even when we pray on our own together, we are strengthening each other in our joint resolve to honor the Lord and connect with him.
Jesus. This week in particular, we are meeting together in the morning to remember Jesus. And it is Jesus who set an example for us to go to the Father early in the morning. That is not to say that Jesus only prayed early in the morning, or that he did it every single day, or that he exclusively prayed together with others even. But it was something he did, to make first things first, to get away from the distractions, to be awake, and be together with his Father.
It’s difficult to get out of bed early to pray with others. It’s also very very good. This week our church is meeting to pray, and remember together what God has done for us in sending us his Son, Jesus to live a perfect life, die a sinners death, and be raised to life again, that we might be reconciled to the Father. It’s not mandatory to pray early in the morning, but it’s very very good.