“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Mark 1.35-37
Some people love mornings. Our Dean at Truett Seminary wakes up sub 5 AM and does more before 8 AM then I accomplish all day! I am not much of a morning person, not that I sleep in very long, but the late nights don’t lend themselves to early mornings. I’ve always loved this quote from Ryan on the the TV hit show The Office – “Ever since I’ve gotten clean, there’s something about fresh morning air that just really makes me sick.” I can relate!
But Jesus seemed to side with my seminary dean as did John Wesley – (https://www.newroombristol.org.uk/give-time/#:~:text=John%20Wesley%20was%20fundamentally%20opposed,preached%20by%20rising%20at%204am.) and others.
The text in Mark tells us that “very early in the morning” Jesus got up. How early was “very” early? Well to my mind, very early would constitute 3 to 5 AM. This is very early in my mind. Scripture never tells us when Jesus went to sleep but from a previous passage, verse 32, Jesus was performing healing ministry after sunset. How many people came to Jesus that night for healing? How long did that last? I’m guessing 11 PM would not be unreasonable.
So Jesus had just been inundated with sick people and the demand upon his time was already great. I imagine he ministered most of the day and into the evening. And then, to top it off, he gets up “very early” not to pour out to people but to be poured in to by the Father. The reason for his early waking was finding a solitary place and praying. Now we know the “rest of the story” says Paul Harvey, and people found him and exclaimed, “Everyone is looking for you!”
If Jesus could get up early and pray, with all the demands upon his time, then show can I. God increases his capacity. God gave Jesus not only strength but motivation to get up and begin his day in prayer. And as soon as the need arose for him to continue in ministry, he did so.
Now I am not saying I will be waking up at 4 or 5 AM, but I will continue to make the effort to spend time with God in the mornings, reading, writing, praying, reflecting. I do this not because I have to but because I am able and willing to meet with the One who will meet with me. And he will meet with you.
So find time, in the mornings if you are able, to open up the Scriptures and hear from the Lord. Because he loves you…
“O Lord God, I thank you for a day of rest. This is my sabbath, my Shabbat. I do not rest easily. I do not quite my mind as often as I should. I’m running ninety to nothing most of the time. I do not stop as I should. I do not listen as I should. I do not stop and count the multitude of blessings. Today, O Lord, I will pause. I might be active but I will mediate upon you and your Word in my life. Come now, Holy Spirit, help me do that which you have called me to do. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen