An article written by Mrs Anthonia Allen, Local Preacher.
Good morning, Lord
We all have routines, things we do from day to day when we are in automatic pilot, and just carry out tasks without even thinking about them.
I have been taking some language lessons that need daily practice, and I have been finding it hard to fit this into my schedule. As I was praying for the Holy Spirit to show me a way out, it came to me to build it into my routine.
Many will relate with me as to other areas where we need to build up discipline: losing weight, taking regular exercise - even going out to work. They may not be things we necessarily enjoy or want to do, but because of their importance, they get grafted into our routine.
David had a routine. Here are some examples from the Psalms:
Psalm 5:3: In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.
Psalm 59:16: But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
Psalm 88:13: But I cry to You for help, Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before You.
From these Bible passages and many others we catch a glimpse of David's lifestyle of spending time with God in the morning. He sang to God in the morning. He cried to God for help in the morning. He came before God to wait on Him in the morning. He got directions on important battle strategies as he waited on the Lord.
Many accounts in the gospels also tell us how Jesus woke up early to spend time with the Father before the business of the day took over. He spent all night in fellowship with the Father before He chose the twelve disciples. Throughout the gospels Jesus only said and did as the Father showed Him. All this information He got from His habit of fellowshipping with the Father.
Why morning? This is the time the Lord especially visits the earth. But you might want to argue that we always have His presence. Yes; but in the morning the Lord can have our full attention before the business and noise of life takes over, and in that calmness and quiet we can wait and secure the presence of the Lord for the day.
Andrew Murray in his book 'The Practice of God's Presence' with over two million in print speaks of the extreme importance of a morning time of quiet and medication on God's word. He quotes a well-known Christian leader's view that 'Next to receiving Christ as Saviour and claiming the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we know of no act that brings greater good to ourselves or others than the determination to keep the morning watch and spend the first half hour alone with God.'
I was fascinated with something Watchman Nee wrote about this: that we should constantly ask new believers questions like 'what time do you get up every day?'; 'what time did you get up this morning?'.
The truth is, we will always find time for what is important and uppermost in our hearts. We must ask for God's grace to build this habit. During this time we blend together fellowship, praises, singing to the Lord, Bible reading and prayers. The Lord feeds us. We breathe in the Word of God, and breathe out our prayers to God.
This is life. Without it our spiritual life cannot flourish in the way God intends. We need strength to face the day-to-day challenges, to hear from God, to bring our concerns and the concerns of our loved ones and the world before God. We also, like David, need a specific strategy from Heaven for the challenges that face us, especially at this time in our history. In the presence of the Lord is the answer to life, to everything.
It is important that we do not see this as a law or something we must do. It is a privilege and a delight; the nearest we can get to heaven is having the Lord's presence. I wish the Church would take time to teach us how to learn to gather manna to furnish us with food and strength in our life's journey.
There are times when circumstances make it difficult to spend time with God as we would really want to. God knows our hearts and He cares. At such times, instead of beating ourselves up and feeling guilty, we should run to Him to let Him know how we feel and the challenges we face and ask for His grace to keep us strong and sustain us. Not that He does not know: God knows all things - but He just loves us to come to Him in love and cry 'Abba, Father'.
This is all about love, not legalism. We are sons and daughters, not slaves, building and maintaining our love relationship with God. Jesus paid the hightest price to secure this position for everybody. And God gave His best for us. His heart yearns for us; He longs to spend time with us; He longs for people to be His friends.
The key is asking the Lord to reveal to us how important this is, and to ask for grace to develop this habit. As we trust Him, He is our teacher. As Counsellor He will lead us and show us how to appropriate this blessing and privilege in our lives. The light of God's presence will shine in our lives, the Church and the nation as we learn to secure the presence of the Light of the World.