I see many examples where men who have done great things for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning – its opportunity for freshness – in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He is likely to fall behind during the remainder of the day.
Behind this early rising and early praying is the intense desire that urges us into this pursuit after God. Morning listlessness indicates a listless heart. The heart that is lax in seeking God in the morning has lost its relish for God. David’s heart was ardent after God. He hungered and thirsted after God. He sought God early, before daylight. The bed and sleep could not chain his soul in its eagerness after God. Christ longed for communion with God; and so, rising a great while before day, He would go out to the mountain to pray. The disciples, when fully awake and ashamed of their indulgence, knew where to find Him. We could list men who have mightily impressed the world for God, and we would find that they were early in seeking after God.
A desire for God that cannot break the chains of sleep is a weak thing and will do little good for God. The desire for God that stays far behind the Devil and the world at the beginning of the day will never catch up.
It is not simply getting up that has brought men to the front and has made them leaders in God’s hosts. It is the overwhelming desire that stirs and breaks all self-indulgent chains that does so. But getting up gives vent, increase, and strength to the desire. If they had lain in bed and indulged themselves, the desire would have been quenched. The desire aroused them and inspired them to reach out for God.
This heeding and acting on the call gave their faith its grasp on God, and their hearts the sweetest and fullest revelation of Him. This strength of faith and fullness of revelation made them saints by eminence. The halo of their sainthood has come down to us, and we have entered into the enjoyment of their conquests. But we take our fill in enjoyment of them, and not in imitating them. We build their tombs and write their epitaphs, but are careful not to follow their examples.
We need a generation of preachers who seek God and seek Him early. We need men who give the freshness and dew of effort to God, and in return secure the freshness and fullness of His power, that He may be as the dew to them – full of gladness and strength through all the heat and labor of the day.
– adapted from the writings of E.M. Bounds