I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. Pro 8:17
What the Christian does upon awakening in the morning, can mean the difference between victory or defeat throughout the rest of the day. Recently, Winnie and I began reading through the book “Master Preachers” by Harold Calkins for our family worship. The author’s forward begins by quoting an interesting article written by Evangelist H.M.S Richards describing his daily routine entitled: “Habits that Help Me”. Pastor Richards writes:
‘I try to make the Word the last thing I think about at night. I always carry a Testament with me, and have it at the side of my bed so that I can read some out of it just before I go to sleep… When I open my eyes in the morning, the first thing I think about is God, and I pray—right there in bed before I get up—about the day and about my work. Then I take my Testament and read… I eat a big breakfast about seven.
“Master Preachers” is about the devotional life of eleven British and nine American ministers. It makes for fascinating reading to learn how George Whitehead –who preached 18,000 times in 34 years—read his Bible AND Matthew Henry’s Commentary on his knees! (Matthew Henry’s Commentary fills 6 volumes and totals 5500 pages.) George Müller, who through prayer raised 7 million dollars to support 10,000 orphans without asking anyone for money, testified that a considerable part of his private time was conducted while exercising. Müller wrote:
Of course this seeking of God in the morning must continue throughout the whole day if you want God’s anointing and grace. This was the secret of the power in witnessing that attended the great 20th century evangelist and educator Charles Finney. One author wrote of him:
“Finney seemed so anointed with the Holy Spirit that people were often brought under conviction of sin just by looking at him. When holding meetings at Utica, New York, he visited a large factory there and was looking at the machinery. At the sight of him one of the operatives, and then another, and then another broke down and wept under a sense of their sins, and finally so many were sobbing and weeping that the machinery had to be stopped while Finney pointed them to Christ…”
Jesus --who came to the earth as man like us—received refreshment and divine power by rising early and communing with His Father. He knew how to “speak a word in season to him that is weary” because He “…wakeneth morning by morning” Isaiah 50:4. The Gospel of Mark describes it this way: “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” Mark 1:35. The Desire of Ages sets forth our Master’s commitment to communing with His Father through prayer this way:
“No other life was ever so crowded with labor and responsibility as was that of Jesus; yet how often He was found in prayer! How constant was His communion with God! ...In a life wholly devoted to the good of others, the Saviour found it necessary to withdraw from the thoroughfares of travel and from the throng that followed Him day after day. He must turn aside from a life of ceaseless activity and contact with human needs, to seek retirement and unbroken communion with His Father. As one with us, a
sharer in our needs and weaknesses, He was wholly dependent upon God, and in the secret place of prayer He sought divine strength, that He might go forth braced for duty and trial. In a world of sin Jesus endured struggles and torture of soul. In communion with God He could unburden the sorrows that were crushing Him. Here He found comfort and joy.
In Christ the cry of humanity reached the Father of infinite pity. As a man He supplicated the throne of God till His humanity was charged with a heavenly current that should connect humanity with divinity. Through continual communion He received life from God, that He might impart life to the world. His experience is to be ours. DA 362,363
As the New Year is now in full swing --with all of its unseen trials and opportunities—we encourage you dear reader to reboot and retool your early morning routine. The times in which we live require soldiers that are completely clad in heavenly armor. Are your morning habits helping as they should?
I met God in the morning
When my day was at its best,
And His presence came like sunrise,
Like a glory in my breast.
All day long the Presence lingered,
All day long He stayed with me,
And we sailed in perfect calmness
O’er a very troubled sea.
Other ships were blown and battered,
Other ships were sore distressed,
But the winds that seem to drive them
Brought to us a peace and rest.
Then I thought of other mornings,
With a keen remorse of mind,
When I too had loosed the moorings,
With the Presence left behind.
So I think I know the secret,
Learned from many a troubled way:
You must seek Him in the morning
If you want Him through the day!
Ralph Spalding Cushman