In a wearisome and stressful season several years ago, I began waking earlier to draw near to the Lord through Bible reading, reflective journaling, and prayer. A bit reluctant at first, I found these deep yet simple morning practices—which didn’t happen perfectly—reorienting and fueling me for the day ahead.
Over time, my mornings (and the unfolding days) went from scattered and thin on hope to deliberate and filled with hope. Six years later, my mornings with the Lord are an invaluable treasure to me and, in fact, the most predictable part of my day.
Though there’s no authoritative command for morning worship and no biblical prescriptive for a wake-up routine, I’ve found particular comfort, clarity, and closeness to the Lord in this posture of coming to him first thing.
I’ve found particular comfort, clarity, and closeness to the Lord in this posture of coming to him first thing.
A few weeks ago I received an email from my friend, Jan, who’s just begun a morning practice of Bible reading. She had never read her Bible daily before and is now brimming with enthusiasm for her new morning practice. Jan shared, “I’ve begun to read my Bible each morning, even if for only five minutes, and it sets my mindset for the day. . . . I’ve grown to love it!”
Hearing Jan’s experience reawakened me to the beauty and benefits of intentionally turning toward the Lord in the mornings. For morning people and night owls alike, the practice of a morning devotional time offers at least four delights.
1. Morning time with the Lord is marked by stillness.
Jan and I are in very different seasons of life. She’s widowed, deep in her professional career, and enjoying relationships with her grown children. I’m married with kids, overseeing the logistics of many after-school activities while mentoring women along the way. Yet the morning time offers both of us—and you—a stillness not found at any other time of day.
Before the rush of the day takes over, before those counting on us need all our attention and tasks beg for our time, our mornings begin in stillness. Even if the stillness only lasts a short time, it’s worth waking to experience each day. As the hush of home quiets our minds and hearts, we are most likely to hear the Lord’s voice and focus on his presence. In Psalm 46:10, we are exhorted: “Be still and know that I am God.” The morning stillness helps us to focus on his Word, commune with him by his Spirit, and enjoy his power and holiness.
2. Morning time with the Lord sets the tone.
My morning devotional routine began at a time when my faith was the only thing propping me up. I was desperate for an anchor through some tough days. Even though waking up earlier cost me something, I soon noticed these early-morning deposits made a difference in my mindset and steadiness throughout the day. My perspective lifted and shifted—even in difficult circumstances—as a result of deliberately drawing near to the Lord in the morning.
When we enjoy morning time with the Lord, an intimacy develops for the rest of the day. Through reading the Bible, reflecting on God’s character, praying, singing, or memorizing Scripture, we begin an intimate conversation that begs to be continued. Whether you are naturally early to rise or not so much, when your first conversation of the day is with Jesus, the one who holds all things together, every other conversation can reflect your nearness to him.
3. Morning time with the Lord is full of expectation.
Mornings naturally offer expectation, don’t they? We wake up with a fresh outlook and renewed strength. Even in tough seasons, we long for a new day to offer new hope, new energy, and new focus.
When your first conversation of the day is with Jesus, every other conversation can reflect your nearness to him.
The natural expectation of a new day helps me come expectantly to Jesus. In the morning, I come hungry and hopeful for the soul-satisfying experience of drawing near to him, without having to fight through the weightiness of the day. Often when a few more minutes of slumber tugs at me, it’s this trusted hope—and his proven faithfulness—that makes getting up worth it.
Come to him, even sleepy-eyed, when you are expectant and most open to receiving.
4. Morning time with the Lord keeps us in rhythm.
In the initial pages of the Bible, we learn of God’s perfect creation of morning and evening (Gen. 1:5). Each day marked with a sunrise is the pattern of our days. The morning rhythm builds as Lamentations reminds us that God’s mercies are new every morning. Then, Hosea implores us to “press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn” (Hosea 6:3).
If God set up each day to follow the pattern of morning and evening, it seems fitting for us to intentionally worship according to this pattern as well. Morning devotional time reminds us at the outset that God made each new day and promises to be with us in it.
Morning devotional time reminds us at the outset that God made each new day and promises to be with us in it.
I can testify to the goodness of spending a few moments each morning with the Lord, but the truest enjoyment is in tasting and seeing the delights of a lived-out pattern of morning worship for yourself. Maybe you’ve already felt a little nudge to wake up in time to read your Bible; consider this your invitation to join Jan and me as we declare, “Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for in you I trust” (Ps. 143:8).