The Daily Telegraph (Sept 15 2011) reported that, according to recent research, “Early Risers get ahead of the Game”. The report added that those who rose early in the morning were slimmer, happier and healthier than those who lie in. No doubt there are exceptions, but on the whole I am sure this is true. One of the worst of the many bad habits picked up at University is staying up late drinking coffee.
My parents frequently repeated an old proverb in order to encourage me to retire to bed: Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy and wealthy and wise. My father used to claim that one hour in bed before midnight is worth two hours after midnight. He was an early riser.
It is worth remarking on that, almost without exception, men who have been greatly used by God have risen early to pray. Charles Simeon prayed from 4.0 to 8.0 am. John Wesley devoted 4.0 am to 6.0 am to prayer. Both Bishop Ken and Samuel Rutherford rose at 3.0 am to pray. Bishop Asbury and Joseph Alleine began their devotions at 4.0 am, while Robert Murray McCheyne began the day with prayer from 6 to 8 am. No doubt these men went to bed early. There was no electric light then! Scores of similar examples could no doubt be given. In this, these famous men were following the example of the Lord Jesus Christ who, it is recorded, on at least one occasion, rose up a great while before day and prayed (Mark 1:35). Prayer is a prominent feature of our Lord’s life, especially in Luke’s record.
It is quite striking that God, who never slumbers nor sleeps, when stressing the importance of a message he is sending, refers to Himself as ‘rising early’ to send His messenger. (See, for example, 2 Chron. 36:15; Jeremiah 7:13, 25; 11:7; 25:3, 4; 26:5; 29:19; 32:33; 35:14, 15; 44:4).
Abraham, in his dogged determination to obey God, rose early (Gen. 22:3).
Lorne Sanny, former President of the Navigators, once remarked whimsically, “If you wait until the evening to pray, you will have to ask God to forgive you for sins you should have got up in the morning to ask Him to keep you out of!”
But more than being kept from sin, many men of God have testified that praying early and long is the secret of unction on preaching and power in service. If you have not yet read E. M. Bounds on Power Through Prayer, then read it. If you have read it, read it again, and again, and again…