“When you thus begin the day in the spirit of religion, renouncing sleep, because you are to renounce softness and redeem your time; this disposition, as it puts your heart into a good state so it will procure the assistance of the Holy Spirit; what is so planted and watered will certainly have an increase from God.
What is the best time to spend time in prayer and meditation on the Word of God? For me, the early morning (with four young children in the house, all of whom are usually still sleeping this is the only quiet time in my home!). This time also has the advantage of beginning your day by lashing your heart to the mast that is Christ. This was the practice of many of the old divines from Calvin to Edwards and Spurgeon. In our age of iPhones and Facebook, this question has perhaps never taken on more importance and we do well to listen to an old divine who wrote about this fundamental bit of practical divinity, an old divine who apparently thought sleep was overrated.
William Law (1686-1761) was an English Puritan theologian best known for writing works in the category of practical divinity, a category to which we refer today as “Christian living” or “devotional literature.” His most famous work was a classic titled A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. In it, he argues strenuously that the best way for a Christian to begin his day is to rise very early and spent the first hours in prayer and Scripture meditation. Law modeled that of which he wrote: “His own day, which began at 5 a.m., was carefully planned to allow time for reading, writing, and works of charity, as well as prayer.”1
Law felt that early rising prepared a Christian to face the spiritual battle that would be his lot each day. Allow Law’s words to encourage you toward this practice, and don’t miss what he says about sleep at the end of the first paragraph…