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. (Mark 1:35, NIV)
Most mornings during the week, I stumble out of bed between 5:00 and 5:30. I don’t have to get up that early. I choose to start my day at that awful hour.
Because a bunch of guys play basketball in the local high school gym at 6:30 AM. I like the competition, I have the time, I need the exercise, they won’t meet over the lunch hour (despite my urgings) so I join them.
Though I’ve been keeping this schedule for years, it’s never become routine. It always involves a choice. In the winter, frigid Wisconsin temps and great-for-sleeping-in weather make the decision to pull back the bedcover all the more difficult. At that time of year, I’m frozen in indecision (yeah, I know, bad pun, but I just had to write it!).
But I choose to rise early and play with the guys.
Only recently have I started exercising my spiritual muscles early in the morning as well. In the past, I got up and went through some basic morning rituals—eating, dressing (which is generally encouraged before you play basketball), reading, checking email, that sort of stuff.
If I had some leftover time, I’d pray.
Do you know how much leftover time I had during the last couple of months? Seven minutes and thirty-eight seconds. Total!
Of course, I didn’t spend that much time praying all at once. I spread it over several days.
Yeah, I know. Pa-the-tic!
Now, I’m going to let you in on a big secret. I haven’t known this secret long (well, actually most of my born days—but only in my head, and not in the way that gets you to do something).
Big secret unveiling (cue trumpet blast):
Oh, you knew that already. I figured you did.
I did too.
In my head.
Not in my heart.
Nor in my actions.
But I’ve made a choice.
And it’s always a choice.
First thing in the morning.
Like getting up for basketball.
Question: What do you do first thing in the morning?