“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” – Mark 1:35.

Corrie ten Boom wrote, “Don’t pray when you feel like it. Rather, have an appointment with the Lord, and keep it!” This is good advice. Sometimes prayer is not what I “feel” like doing. But when I set a regular appointment with God and honor it, no matter what my body or emotions might say, I feel refreshed.

The best time for your appointment with God is early morning – not because most of us love jumping out of bed, but because it is the only time of day when we can be fairly sure of not being interrupted and because it is best to commune with God before you commune with people. Your attitude toward them will reflect your life in Him. Offering to God the first hour of the day is a representation of all of our time.

Scripture puts a high value on waking up early, even before dawn, and giving the first fruits of our day to God in prayer, worship and seeking His face: Psalm 57:8 says, “Wake up, my heart! Wake up, O lyre and harp! I will wake the dawn with my song.” Proverbs 31:15 adds, “She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.”

Jesus Himself set for us a clear example of rising early to seek the Father’s face: “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” (Mark 1:35).

John Bunyan wrote, “He who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find Him the rest of the day.” I have found this to be absolutely true in my own life. I found that having a regular time each morning is an opportunity for me to spend time alone with God. I would encourage you to offer the “first fruits” of the day to God by spending time in His Word and in prayer.  It’s an opportunity to declare with our lives, not just our lips, that Jesus truly is our most important priority. It gives the Spirit of God the first say. When I seek Him in my first act of the day, I find that every other area of my life comes into proper alignment.

There’s something to be said about giving God our best, even in treating our daily quiet time as an appointment to be kept and respected. Give God your first thoughts and He will direct your path.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does spending time with God develop our relationship with Him?
  2. What are some other benefits of getting completely alone with God? Where is a place where you can get alone with God? How can you help yourself to not get distracted?
  3. A relationship with God is not one-sided. A lot of times, we view prayer as us talking to God, telling Him our needs and wants, and praying for Him to do certain things. What can we do to better listen to God in our quiet time?
  4. Ask God to show you the practical things you can do to not only guard your daily appointment with Him, but also to make that time as powerful and Christ-centered as possible.