Mornings are often filled with to-do lists, hurried actions, and a rush into the day with school, errands, meetings, and work.
We tend to start our day focused on what needs to get done, or who we have to see in an hour or two. It’s easy to neglect the most important part of our life–our relationship with God. Prayer is how we relate to and connect with God. Yet, we may struggle with when to actually pray.
Given all of this, what is the importance of morning prayer?
Morning prayer is a great way to begin your day and focus on your mind and heart. But it’s not the only time you should pray to God, nor is morning prayer better than some other time of day. What’s important is building your relationship with God whether that’s morning, noon, or night.
You can read about a couple of considerations about what morning prayer is not, as well as how morning prayer (and prayer at any time of the day) is important and is useful in your relationship with God.
Morning Prayer is Not About Getting Rewarded
Praying, whether it’s in the morning or some other time of day, is not about acquiring something from God. Prayer is not like a slot machine where we pull the lever and hope we got lucky if the right numbers come up.
Praying to God establishes a connection with the Almighty, couched in trust, intimacy, honesty, and worship. Do we want to damage that connection by treating prayer like a game to be won? Or something that can be optimized? Unfortunately, that’s often the mindset when it comes to discussing morning prayer.
Morning prayer can be an important part of your daily devotion to God, but it’s not as if your prayers will get answered more quickly if you pray in the morning versus someone who prays in the middle of the day or in the evening.
Morning Prayer is Not About Manipulating God
We cannot manipulate God by our actions. Praying in the morning doesn’t mean your prayer will get answered any better than if you pray at another time of day. We have to remember that God is not bound by time.
Who are we to demand that God hears us better at a certain time of day, as opposed to some other time? God is above time. God created time, but is not bound by what we understand as time. God is infinite and we are finite. We would do well to remember that God is God, and we are not.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55.8-9, NIV).
If we think that praying in the morning somehow grants us special access or favor to God versus praying at some other time of day, we are mistaken. We should be humbled that we can come into the presence of God in prayer because of Jesus Christ and what he has done.
God is accessible any time, anywhere, which is why prayer is important, any time, anywhere.
Morning Prayer is a Positive Way to Start the Day
It makes sense to want to pray to God in the morning, since for most people, that is the beginning of their new day. Surely we would seek to worship God at the earliest possible opportunity, wouldn’t we?
If possible for our schedule and way of life and personality, it seems a good idea to start our day with prayer as a vital aspect of loving God. We can get inspired in prayer which can positively influence how the rest of our day unfolds.
We can also gain strength through morning prayer, girding our spirit in truth for the trials or obstacles we may face. Before we get swamped with worries, problems, and things that just need to be handled right away, we can center on Christ, focus on the Finisher of our faith as we pray.
Jesus Prayed in the Morning. . .And at Other Times
In Mark 1.35, we see Jesus communicating to God in the early hours of the day, “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” (NIV). If that’s the only verse we refer to, we can easily believe that morning prayer is the only time we should pray.
But there are other examples of Jesus praying at other times of the day. We can’t limit our understanding to only one verse and claim that is the only way to pray. It would like saying: Jesus went to a wedding and it was recorded in scripture, so therefore we must always go to weddings.
No, we must allow for other possibilities. But we need to explore further so we can truly understand the importance of prayer for our life.
We see Jesus praying all through the night in Luke 6.12, “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God” (NIV). Jesus prayed throughout the night while at the Garden of Gethsemane.
While on the cross, Jesus prayed at different times from around mid-morning through mid-afternoon, as we see in Luke 23.
Jesus, the Son of God, engaged in prayer so clearly it is of importance to us. As we notice he prayed in the morning and throughout the day, then that suggests an example for us to follow as we pray.
But what about Jesus’ disciples? Did they pray only in the morning?
Disciples Pray Throughout the Entire Day
While a daily part of the Hebrews’ worship and prayer happened in the morning, it doesn’t mean that was the only time to engage in prayer. We see prayer happening through the day, and even into the night.
Praying at different times of the day and night is not limited to just people in the Bible. Christians in the Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant traditions have engaged in prayer at specific hours of the day for years and even today.
So, we can realize that morning prayer is an important and normal part of life for a follower of Jesus. We also see that prayer throughout the day is just as important and normal for a follower of Jesus.
Morning Prayer is About Relationship
Scripture says to pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5.17, NIV), so that means prayer is not limited to the time around sunrise. It also means prayer can be outside of a distinct time or hour. Even though morning prayer can be a great way to start your conversation with God before your time gets taken over by work meetings, stress from school, or other obligations it’s far from the only time.
Praying to God involves investing time with him. Listening to what God has to say to us. Sometimes we pray just to say hello. Do we only talk with the people we love at certain times of the day? Can you imagine talking with your children only in the morning between 7 and 8 a.m., because that’s the time you decided was the best time to talk to them?
Or what if you decided that you would only speak with your spouse in the morning but at no other time during the entire day or evening? You wouldn’t have much of a marriage, would you?
Using these extreme examples is intended to focus our attention of the reality that prayer is a vital part of our relationship with God. We want to treat our relationship with care and respect. A good relationship, a relationship that can be counted on, rests on the foundation of closeness and understanding.
That type of intimacy is gained through open prayer and sharing throughout the day.
So, if we pray in the morning and ignore God the rest of the day, what does that say about our relationship with God? Shouldn’t we want to be in contact with God throughout the day?
Our relationship will only grow as we become vulnerable with God. Vulnerability happens over time, with time invested in the relationship. This necessary growth won’t happen if we limit our contact with our Creator to a few minutes before the sun rises each day.
And what if we’re not “morning people?” What if we are night owls and the best version of ourselves is at night, when we’re alert? What do we say to second and third-shift workers who may be toiling at their jobs, or asleep in the morning? They deserve to be in a relationship with God through prayer as well, don’t they?
While morning prayer may work and be ideal for some people, it doesn’t have to be the required time of prayer for everyone who seeks connection to God. Prayer is good and important whether, in the morning, mid-morning, at noontime, in the afternoon, in the evening, or late at night.
As you seek God and desire to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12.30, NIV), you shouldn’t let a number on a clock determine when you pray and deepen your relationship with God.