How do you start your day? By groaning and hitting the snooze button? Or with gratitude and drive?
There’s a lot to be said for starting the day with prayer. Some mornings that might be a prayer of gratitude, and some mornings it might be a prayer for strength, but no matter what your day has in store, saying a prayer can help you kick off with the right foot.
Jesus Is a Model for Perfect Prayer
Jesus taught us to pray. Most of us know that Jesus gave us the Lord’s prayer. Its most recognizable form is found in Matthew 6:9-14, with a shorter version in Luke 11:2-4. In both cases, the prayer is the focus of an entire chapter, telling us to pray not only with words but with actions.
The entire life of Jesus is a model for living in prayer. What Jesus prayed gives us the words. How Jesus prayed gives us the method.
So, how did Jesus pray?
Despite being Himself one with God the Father, there are many passages in the Gospels where Jesus prays. Sometimes these are short prayers said in moments of frustration, just as many of us may pray briefly for strength when our patience is tested. Other times, Jesus goes out of His way to take time out to pray in solitude.
One moving example appears in the Gospel of Mark.
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Jesus Started the Morning with Prayer
“And, in the morning, a great while before day, [Jesus] rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed.”.Mark 1:35
The context of this passage is significant. Mark 1:21–32 gives us the full itinerary of Jesus and His Apostles on the previous day. As we might expect from a day in the life of Jesus, it is full of healing the sick and driving out demons. Even the Son of God must have been tired.
Still, Jesus wakes up early—“a great while before the day”—so that He can have quiet time alone to pray. It’s also clear that this is no quick prayer—the Apostles find Jesus after so much time that people have already been looking for Him.
Only then does Jesus lay out the schedule for the rest of the day, saying, “Let us go now to the next towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out” (1:38).
These actions are a model for prioritizing our time. Jesus spends time with God before doing anything else, knowing that His work won’t be effective otherwise.
We don’t know specifically what Jesus prayed for or the words He used. But in these passages, Jesus teaches us how to conduct ourselves, especially when facing challenges: rest, rise early and pray, and meet the next day with ambition and purpose.
How Do You Start Your Morning?
There are morning people, and there are — well, the rest of us. Whichever one you are, think about how you start your day.
If you’re a morning person, perhaps like Jesus seems to have been, what do you do with that time? Do you watch television, do chores, or just lay around? Spending that time alone in silent reflection and prayer might be even more rewarding.
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If you aren’t a morning person, ask yourself why not. Do you dread the busy day ahead? Maybe you’d rather not encounter other people before your first cup of coffee. Well, prayer can satisfy those needs. It’s a guaranteed way to start the morning with less stress. Who knows, maybe talking with people will be more bearable after talking to God first!
Start with a Daily Morning Prayer Subscription
If you aren’t comfortable with prayer or don’t know how to use prayer to start your morning, that’s okay. There are a lot of ways that you can get started. You can attend a daily church service or try one of the numerous Christian meditation books on the market. And if you’d like some help getting started with what to say or how to say it, subscribe to Operando’s Daily Morning Prayers for free. Click here, and you’ll get one short prayer emailed to you every day—you can read it anywhere, even on your phone!