For years now, I have struggled with finding time to read my Bible and pray. It would be one thing if my kids weren't with me all day. Then, I might could make some time at lunch or some other quiet time of the day. But since we choose to homeschool our four kiddos, that means there is precious little quiet time in any day.
In January of this year, though, I decided to begin getting up early, before the craziness of the day began, so I could have some time alone with God. I have been doing this every morning since. This has done two things. First, it allows me some time that should be quiet, so I can concentrate on my Bible reading and some good prayer time alone with God. The other thing I am doing by having my quiet time in the morning is giving God the first of each of my days. Before I check my computer, before I start working on breakfast, before the chores and schooling of the day begin, I give God the very first of my day. It is my offering to Him. And by doing so, it sets the course for my entire day so that it runs more smoothly and is more centered on God.
Well, even good intentions have their problems. Most mornings have gone exactly as I planned, and I have been thrilled to spend some alone time with God. But there have been a few mornings that I just cannot get my eyes to focus on the words I'm reading, and I can't get my brain to wake up enough to comprehend those words. And then, there have been a few mornings that, no matter how early I wake, shortly after I start reading, I hear the pitter patter of little feet coming down the hall, and I'll have a two or five year old snuggled up with me. So I close my Bible and hope for another time during the day to sit down and finish my reading. Rarely does another time present itself.
Yesterday, I was reading about how Jesus got up early to talk to his Father. In Mark 1:35-37, it says:
"Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. Later, Simon and the others went out to find Him. When they found Him, they said, 'Everyone is looking for You.'"
If you read the few verses before that, it talks about what Jesus was doing the night before. He didn't hit the sack early so He could be ready to go in the morning. No, He was up late teaching people and healing them. And then the next morning, He got up before anyone else so He could sneak out and have a few quiet moments with God the Father.
When I read these verses, I was very encouraged to know that, truly, Jesus DID experience everything we experience, so He is able to understand our troubles. I am sure, being fully human, that Jesus probably had to rub His eyes a few times to make them see clearly in the early morning light. I'm pretty certain He was tired from the long night of ministry the night before. I am sure He was tempted to just go "rest" by a tree for just a few more minutes instead of praying, especially since it may be the only quiet time He had all day. And to make things more difficult, He, too, had people hunting Him down and cutting His quiet time short. Simon and the others were looking for Him. I can imagine them saying, "What are you doing? Everyone is looking for you. They need to be fed (spiritually). Aren't you coming?" Sounds just like my mornings when the little ones come in - "I'm hungry mama. Aren't you coming to fix me breakfast?"
So though it may be hard to get up before everyone else, and even though I occasionally have little distractions even in those early hours of the morning, I am so thankful to know I am not alone in this. Jesus Christ experienced the same struggles I face in trying to find time with the Father - and He overcame.
Be sure to set aside some time with God each day. Your time doesn't have to be the same time as mine. Whatever moments of the day that work best for you is when you should set aside to seek Him. There will be distractions, and there will be days when it just doesn't get done. But it WILL be worth the effort you put into it!