“Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face evermore!” -1 Chronicles 16:11
With all the world running at a frantic pace, I’ve learned to look forward to my quiet time in the mornings. It’s a time to be still before the Lord, read His Word, and talk with Him. Once I got a phone, I struggled for a little bit with constantly wanting to check my phone in the mornings. But, I realized that having my Bible time before I checked my phone was a good discipline to possess. There are three reasons why I don’t check my phone in the mornings before (or during) my quiet time.
#1: It Allows Me to Mentally Gather Myself and Prepare
It’s the same principle behind why athletes’ don’t check their devices while they are getting ready for a game. For away games last season, our team was allowed to watch movies on the bus right up until the moment we arrived at the field. How did it turn out? We struggled all year with being ready to play the instant the first whistle blew. It often took an entire half (45 minutes of play) before we really got dialed in. We were focused on other things before the game, and it cost us. . .we had not prepared, and as a result, we did not perform.
It’s the same with our quiet times. I’ve found that I’m more awake after I shower, so I get ready for my day before having my quiet time. But I don’t check my Instagram or texts beforehand. This allows me to zero in on what I am doing without my mind latching onto thinking about other things. In turn, when I sit down to have my quiet time, my mind is empty, so to speak. It is prepared to focus.
#2: It Keeps Distraction Away
You have certainly observed or experienced this scene: two people are having a deep discussion until one of them gets a text and checks his phone right in the middle of it. At that point, the train of momentum comes to a screeching halt. That moment is gone and will have to be recovered instead of continued.
One way I make it easier to keep from checking my phone in the mornings is by keeping it downstairs overnight. I want to make it as difficult as possible (and in the morning, walking downstairs, grabbing your phone, and walking back upstairs is often difficult enough) to access my phone. I keep it away from me. In the same way it avoids distraction before your quiet time, leaving your phone somewhere else keeps distraction away during that time. You and I both know how ridiculously easy it is to hit the button and see if any notifications have come through. It is too simple. The temptations for me run rampant. . .to check my email, to see what the weather will be, or to send a quick text. Don’t do it! Just like it interrupts a conversation and its momentum, checking your phone during your quiet times is an incredible distraction away from what you were reading and meditating on. If I check it during my time, I have a difficult time recovering my focus.
#3: It Establishes My Priorities
What you do speaks to your objectives and the kind of person you want to be. If you have a habit of getting a Starbucks everyday, you are characterized by being a coffee drinker. If are diligent, you are seen to be a hard worker.
But, when you do those activities says even more. In a way, it ranks what your priorities are. I’ve heard of men coming home from work and not doing anything else until they have greeted and embraced their wife. What does that show? It demonstrates that they place a high priority on their wife. Likewise, the order in which we do things can show our list of priorities. If I go throughout my day without so much as simply thanking the Lord for waking me up in the morning, I have shown that He is not a high priority in my life. If I check my phone in the morning to play games or browse social media before spending time with Him, what level of priority does that demonstrate?
This discipline is a more visible way to remind myself that the Lord comes before all else. Similar kinds of symbolism are everywhere in Scripture. . .the blood on the doorposts of the houses of the Israelites preparing for the Exodus (Exodus 12:7). . .the Israelites being instructed to post visible writings from God’s Word around their houses (Deuteronomy 6:9).
In a similar way, having your quiet time before you check your text or social media is a way to honor the Lord with the first fruits of your day. It demonstrates that He is above all else.
Where can we find a biblical example of all this? Jesus gave us an example of what a diligent prayer life looks like in Mark 1:35: “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.” Notice a few things:
- He went very early, not allowing himself to be distracted by things prior to his quiet time. This also established His relationship with God the Father as priority in His life.
- The verse also shows that the place He went to was solitary, thereby reducing distractions during His interaction with the Father.
May our prayer lives emulate that of the Lord Jesus Christ.