I think for most believers, a nice quiet time with the Lord before everyone wakes up sounds really good in theory. But it can feel like there are a million obstacles in our way to actually wake up and make it happen.
Today, I wanted to share some tips from my own life that help me wake up for a little time with the Lord in the morning. I’m by no means perfect and I do go through stretches where I’ll hit snooze and sleep in instead of wake up. But I’ll tell you, within a few days, I can tell. Everyone around me can probably tell.
Just this week after a very busy 10 days and very little alone time with the Lord, I felt so spun up and like I couldn’t release the frustrations. Instead, I just wanted to sit in them. My word for it is ‘angsty’. Like I’ll know exactly how I want to act but there’s this block that keeps me from doing it. It’s usually pride or just too much of the world.
Have you ever noticed how when you’re watching too much Netflix or scrolling for a while and you want to stop, your mind and body don’t just listen? There’s something that happens when we sit in the Lord’s presence. Our hearts can soften and surrender happens easier.
There’s no law that says you have to wake up early to spend time with God. The thing is WE GET TO. We get to experience time in the Creator’s presence and sit and meditate on His love which changes our lives and how we act throughout our days. We also get to start our day CHOOSING what we set our mind on first instead of being woken up by the most seemingly urgent thing in our life.
Tip: If you’ve got a newborn or kids not sleeping and you feel like this doesn’t apply to you, I’ve got a post with 8 tips just for you that go beyond morning time or cutting into your already limited sleep. Read it here.
KNOW IT’S WORTH IT
This is obvious, but when I’m lying there in bed wondering whether I should get up and I remember the stark contrast my days can have when I’ve had time to align my heart with the Lord’s and have my actions flow from that, it’s a no-brainer. Some days I can convince myself that one day won’t matter and I don’t want to get legalistic about it and grace… When I do that, I totally miss the point. Meeting with God isn’t something I want to make excuses for not doing, I want to see the value of it rather than seeing it as me doing God a favor or as a chore that I can justify not doing.
GET BETTER SLEEP
If you’re anything like me, the reasons you go to bed late are normally things that don’t add much (if any) value to your life, like Netflix or Hollywood gossip. If you’re staying up late to pray or read your Bible, you can skip this entire post. In our post, 16 ways to get rid of stress, I’ve got several tips for getting better sleep but here’s one more that may help. Write out your night routine and how long it takes and work backward from there. I used to always go take a bath at what I thought was enough time to get in bed for the time I wanted but didn’t realize it takes my bath 10 minutes to fill up! Now I know the time I need to start the routine or I know to cut something if I’m lagging behind.
GET A SUNRISE SIMULATING CLOCK
If you are waking up before the sun’s up, try a clock that wakes you up gently by slowly brightening your room. I wake up between 5-5:30 most mornings to a “sunrise” and birds chirping and it’s a ton better than being jarred out of bed by a ding in the dark. I’ve got a pricy one from Philips because it was years ago before there were other options but here’s a bunch to check out.
TAKE A COLD SHOWER
Ok so this one is NOT going to get you up in the morning but it may help you feel wide awake once you have your feet on the floor. I feel so refreshed and energized after. My secret to actually getting into a cold shower is getting into a hot shower for a few minutes and then doing 90 seconds of cold. There are so many health benefits to this too!
CREATE A HANDY TRAY SETUP
I’ve been doing this for YEARS and it’s so helpful! My guess is, you don’t have a special quiet time room or wing of the house! 😉 I basically set all my Bibles, journals, etc on a tray and stick it in a cabinet in our living room. It could even go under your couch. It’s got everything I need ready to go. Here are some of my favorite quiet time resources I’ll include. And a peek at my tray. I need to do an updated post because it definitely changes from time to time!
Tip: Have you ordered your Yearly Prayer Journal yet? There’s only a limited number left for 2020 so grab yours today!
SET IT OUT THE NIGHT BEFORE
This is key. Make sure you set it out the night before so you don’t have to hunt around for anything in the morning.
MAKE IT SPECIAL
Have a heated blanket or special candle or essential oil you only use during your quiet time. I love waking up and turning on my fireplace! My sister has an iced coffee that will definitely get her out of bed! 😉
Want more tips? Here were some response from when I asked on Instagram and my commentary in italics:
- Not doing it all at once (prayer AND scripture AND devotional) Just 15 minutes of prayer for now. Love this! Start small and this pairs perfectly with our 31-day prayer challenge (read more below)!
- Automatic coffee pot. Judging by the comments, pretty much all of you respond to coffee. 😉
- Recognizing that I don’t need to “feel” like it to do it. This is huge!!
- New tools you’re excited to use. Might I suggest this one?
- My husband getting up at the same time. Yep! I didn’t realize how much this affected me until Tyler’s workout schedule changed and I’m the first one up. Definitely an adjustment.
- Putting an alarm clock on the other side of the room. I do this too!
- Praying and asking the Lord to help me. Yes!!
- Praying for an excited heart. Why didn’t I think to share this?!
- Pairing it with something like a walk. I’ve done this in seasons I really struggled so highly recommend this too… when it’s warm enough! 😉
- Accountability with other women. I send a picture when I’m done. Never thought of this! You can also share your quiet time via Instagram with #vmpjournals.
OKAY, SO YOU’RE UP EARLY, BUT NOW WHAT??
We recently released a 31-day prayer challenge to help you get started. Even if you’re only able to get an extra 15 minutes in your morning, you can make prayer happen. There’s a graphic on this blog post that you can save to your phone, but here’s the idea:
Wake up 15 minutes early to pray.
Set a timer and sit with the Lord.
First minute, breathe deeply and get still.
For 4 minutes, meditate on one aspect of God.
Next 5 minutes, confess and request.
Last 5 minutes, praise and thanks.
Wanting a little more structure? Our 31-day Fresh Start Prayer Journal ($15) is perfect to pair with this challenge and introduce you to our prayer journal format and our Yearly Prayer Journal is the tool to continue and grow your morning prayer practice. At the time of this blog post’s release, there’s only a limited number left for 2020, so grab yours today!
Got any other tips for waking up early you’d recommend or ones listed here that you want to try incorporating?