A Great While Before Day

J. D. Conley
January 26, 2014

As people grow older it is increasingly more difficult for them to fall asleep and stay asleep. This is partially due to the body's diminished ability to produce melatonin, a hormone that plays a role in sleep. Consequently, folks find themselves wide awake in the middle of the night unable to fall back asleep. Many decide to just go ahead and get up and begin some type of activity until slumber creeps back upon them. Some choose to read, get on facebook, play a game or watch TV, etc. But how many choose to spend the sleepless wee hours in prayer or immersed in the Word of God?

In Mark's account of the life of Christ he records the following, "And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed" (Mk. 1:35). The day before had been a busy and stressful one for Jesus, in that He had to deal with people's problems and respond to their endless demands on His time. It no doubt had been an exhausting day for Him. Although its not disclosed whether Jesus could sleep or not, we do know what He did when He rose up, i.e., "...he went out...and prayed." This was a deliberate action on His part. He felt the need for prayer and the desire to engage in it. For all we know, Jesus may have been sleeping soundly, but once awakened, made the conscious decision to get up for the express purpose to pray.

How many Christians have ever done this: have climbed out of bed in the middle of the night just to pray? If you have, how long has it been? When is the last time sleep escaped you and you filled that time by reading and meditating upon the Holy Word of God? Furthermore, have you ever looked forward to, or planned for these nocturnal times of prayer and study? David did penning these words, "I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word. Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word" (Ps.119:147,148). The word "prevent" means David anticipated, and look forward to these times in the still of the night, wherein he'd have the blessed opportunity to contemplate God's Word.

From time to time, may we as Christians find ourselves looking forward to "rising up a great while before day," to pray and dwell upon the Sacred Word. It will be time well spent!