Q: Some say it is best to have your devotional time first thing in the morning—that you're somehow more "blessed" if you do. Why is that?
—Steven R. McEvoy, via email
A: Steven, many believers have discovered the importance of incorporating "devotions" or "quiet time" into their daily lives. They make a point to set aside a specific time each day for personal Bible study, worship, and prayer. It's a wonderful way to connect with God—to develop and strengthen our relationship with Him. Attending church services, Sunday school classes, and group Bible studies can help, too. But there's something very special about the time we spend one-on-one with God. During His earthly ministry, Jesus Himself often slipped away from the crowds to spend time alone with His Father—sometimes early in the morning, sometimes late at night (Mark 1:35 , Luke 6:12).
With all of our responsibilities, commitments, and obligations, it can be a real challenge for any of us to find a "quiet" time these days. For some, the simplest way is to get up a little earlier in the morning. Some find it easier to squeeze in a few minutes during the lunch hour or their toddler's naptime. Others say they can relax and concentrate better in the evening.
The Bible doesn't specify any particularly beneficial time of day for us to commune with God. Ultimately, our goal is to be in constant communion with Him day and night (Deut. 6:6-8, 1 Thess. 5:16-18).
So why do some believers insist that morning devotions are best? Perhaps because, like many of us, they've discovered that if you put it off until later in the day you may never get to it. Life continually throws all kinds of interruptions and distractions our way. Having our devotional time first thing is a way of making a statement about our priorities. There is a very real benefit to beginning with a strong spiritual focus, committing our day to God before it's begun. It gives us a sense of purpose. It prepares us to take advantage of divine appointments and strengthens us in advance of the trials and temptations we may face.
But if evening is truly the best time for you, by all means have your quiet time then. The most important thing is that you do it! However, you might consider taking five minutes in the morning to review what you studied the night before. Read a brief devotional or choose a few Scriptures to meditate on throughout the day. Then, with your focus firmly in place, you'll be ready for whatever comes your way.
Christin Ditchfield is the host of the syndicated radio program Take It To Heart, and the author of The 3 Wise Women: A Christmas Reflection (Crossway).
Copyright © 2005 by the author or Christianity Today/Today's Christian magazine.
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