| Re: EARLY RISING by Watchman Nee|
continuation of the article "EARLY RISING" by Watchman Nee
[b]III. WHAT TO DO IN THE EARLY MORNING[/b]
We do not merely rise up early. There must be spiritual exercise and spiritual content to what we do. Here are a few things to do early in the morning:
[b]A. Fellowship with God[/b]
Song of Songs 7:12 shows us that the early morning is the best time to fellowship with the Lord. To fellowship means to open up our spirit and our mind to God and allow Him to enlighten us, speak to us, impress us, and touch us (Psa. 119:105, 147). During this time our hearts are drawn near to God, and we allow God to draw near to our hearts. We should rise up early in the morning to tarry before the Lord, to meditate, to receive leading and impressions from God, to learn to touch Him, and to give Him an opportunity to speak to us.
[b]B. Praise and Sing[/b]
There must be the sound of praise and singing in the early morning. The early morning is the best time to sing praises to God. When we offer our highest praise to God, our spirit rises to the highest peak.
[b]C. Read the Bible[/b]
The early morning is the time for us to gather the manna (which is Christ). What does it mean to eat the manna? It means to enjoy Christ, to enjoy God's Word, and to enjoy His truth early in the morning every day. After we eat the manna, we have the strength to journey in the wilderness. The early morning is the time to gather the manna. One will not be fed spiritually or be satisfied if he spends his early morning on other things.
We have mentioned already that we should have two Bibles, one with marks and notes in it to use in the afternoon and the other with nothing in it for "eating manna" early in the morning. In the early morning, do not read too much and do not take many portions of the Word. Instead, read a single portion of the Bible carefully, always mingling your reading with unceasing communion with God and singing. This does not mean that you should fellowship with God first, praise second, and then read the Bible last. You have to blend all these things together. At the same time you should also pray. Come to God's presence and open His Word. As you read, you may be convicted to confess your sins. As you read certain portions, you may be touched by His grace to offer up thanksgiving. You can also pray to God concerning what you have read in the Word. You can say, "Lord, this is truly what I need. This portion, this verse, this word, truly exposes my lack. Lord, fill up this lack of mine." When you find a promise, you can say, "Lord, I believe in this promise." When you find grace, you can say, "Lord, I take this grace." You can also intercede. While you are reading, you may remember the condition of those who fall short of what this portion says. You should not accuse or criticize them. Instead, you should pray, "God, fulfill this word in me. Fulfill this word also in my brother and sister." You can confess your sins and the sins of others. You can pray for yourself and for others. You can believe for yourself and for others. You can give thanks for yourself and for others. Your Bible reading in the morning should not be too long; it should not cover too much. Two, three, four, or five verses are sufficient. You can dwell on them for an hour. As you read these verses word by word, pray over them, and commune with God through them, you will be filled.
Both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, there were people who fellowshipped with God this way. They knew God and communed with God. Their fellowship with God became part of their lives.
In Psalms David interchanged the pronouns you and He freely. At one moment he would be speaking to man, and at the next moment he would be praying to God. In the same psalm, he would say a few sentences to man and then say something to God. On the one hand, David spoke to man. On the other hand, he spoke to God. The Psalms show us that David was a person who was in constant fellowship with God.
While Nehemiah was working, he would speak a few words and then offer a short prayer. When the king asked him something, he would speak to the king first and then to the Lord. He mingled his work and prayer together. He did not separate his work from his prayer.
Paul wrote the book of Romans to those in Rome. However, more than once he turned his speaking to the Lord. A few times he seemed to have forgotten the fact that he was writing to the Romans. It seemed as if he were talking to God. We can find frequent examples like this in Paul's Epistles. In an instant he could turn around and speak to God.
Those who have read the autobiography of Madame Guyon will notice one characteristic of hers. Most autobiographies are written for man. But in Madame Guyon's autobiography, she spoke to man in one instant and to God in the next instant. In one moment she would be speaking to LaCombe (who asked her to write her autobiography), and at the next moment she would be speaking to God. This is fellowship. One does not know where fellowship with God begins and where it ends. Fellowship does not mean to set aside other affairs to pray. Nor does it mean to pray first and then deal with the affairs. It is to do both simultaneously.
Hence, during this early morning hour of gathering manna, you should learn to mingle prayer with God's Word. You should learn to mingle praise and fellowship with God's Word. One moment you may be on earth, but the next moment you are in the heavens. One moment you may be in yourself, but the next moment you are in God. If you maintain this practice before God every morning, you will be filled after some time, and God's word will dwell in you richly. Such reading of God's Word, such gathering of manna, is indispensable to us. Many brothers and sisters are weak and unable to take the wilderness journey. We need to ask them, "Have you eaten anything?" They cannot walk because they have not eaten enough. Manna is gathered in the early morning. This is why we need to rise up a little earlier. We will not have any manna if we are late. We have to rise up early in the morning to labor in God's Word.
| 2005/11/11 11:38||Profile|
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
A Christian should rise up early because the early morning is the best time to meet the Lord.
I think this is a tremendous biblical principle and is not a commandment but a helpful solution. Nee's recommendation and biblical exhoration are wise words that if heeded would result in much abudant life in Jesus Christ. I truly believe the north american church is lazy and undisciplined and arguably the most undiscipled in church history.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
| 2005/11/11 12:10||Profile|
| Re: EARLY RISING by Watchman Nee|
continuation of the article "EARLY RISING" by Watchman Nee
In the early morning we should fellowship, praise, and gather the manna. We must also pray to the Lord. Psalms 63:1 [KJV] and 78:34 [KJV] both say that we should seek the Lord early. The prayer spoken of in the previous paragraph is a kind of blending prayer. But the prayer we are talking about here is more specific. After one fellowships, praises, and eats manna, he has strength and can present everything in prayer before God. Prayer surely requires much strength. One must first draw near to God early in the morning and be fed. Then he can set aside about half an hour or a quarter of an hour to pray for a few urgent things. He can pray for himself, for the church, or for the world. Of course, he can pray also in the afternoon or at night. But if he takes advantage of the fresh power he has gained, the power acquired in the early morning through fellowshipping with God and eating manna, he will receive greater support.
Every believer should do these four things conscientiously before the Lord early in the morning: fellowship with Him, praise Him, read the Bible, and pray to Him. Whether or not a person has done these four things in the morning is manifested in his walk during the day. George Müller confessed that the degree to which he was fed by the Lord in the morning determined his spiritual condition throughout the whole day. His spiritual condition for the day depended on his feeding before the Lord in the morning. Many Christians find themselves weak during the day because their mornings are ill spent. Of course, there are those who are so far ahead in their spiritual journey that they can experience the total separation of the spirit from the soul. Their outward man is broken, and they are not that easily shaken by anything. However, this is another matter altogether. New believers should learn to rise up early. Once they become loose in this, they become loose in everything, and everything will go wrong. There is a great difference between being nourished and not being nourished in the morning.
A very famous musician once said, "If I skip practicing for one day, I will notice it. If I skip practicing for two days, my friends will notice it. If I skip practicing for three days, my audience will notice it." If this is true for practicing music, it is even more true for the spiritual lesson of rising up early. If we fail to have a good morning watch before God, we will know it. Those who are experienced in the Lord also will know it when they come into contact with us. They will know that we have not touched the spiritual source. From the very first day, new believers should strictly discipline themselves. Every morning they should rise up early to exercise this way before the Lord.
[b]IV. THE PRACTICE OF EARLY RISING[/b]
Finally, we should speak a little about actual ways to implement this practice. How can we rise up early? We need to pay attention to a few things.
All early risers must have the habit of going to bed early. No one can stay up late and rise up early. This is like burning a candle at both ends.
Do not set too high a standard for rising. Some people want to rise up at three or four o'clock in the morning. When they find out that they cannot make it, they quit after a few days. It is better to take a moderate course. Five or six o'clock is a suitable time to get up. Get up when the sun is about to rise or has just risen. Always get up around sunrise. If one tries to get up too early, his practice may not last long. An unreasonably high standard will only result in a condemned conscience. Some people have set too high a standard for themselves. They get into problems with their family or their work. When they take hospitality at the homes of others, they get into problems with their hosts. This is not a profitable thing to do. Our standard should be reasonable. We do not advocate extremes. Do not set too high a standard for yourself. Before the Lord you should consider carefully the proper time for you to rise up. You should take into consideration your physical limitations as well as the environment. Set your standard accordingly and keep it.
May the good and gracious Lord give us grace to experience the reality these truths consistently.
| 2005/11/11 12:33||Profile|
belfast, Nothern Ireland
B.H Clendennen (a few of his sermons are on sermon index)sites Christ as our example - that he got up a long time before morning to pray. He put it this way - we all follow some pattern of culture that influences our way of behaving (if anyone has been in the middle east generally they like to stay up late and then get up late in my experience!) But Christ and the Christian faith transcends culture we follow Christ, and His "culture" - if He got up early to commune with the Father and indeed spent all night in prayer shouldn't we aim for this to be our example?
I would like to qualify that I do aim to live by what I'm suggesting..... unfortunately I've had many occasions when I've loved my bed more. I don't want to ever fall into a religous form of just getting up early to seek God because I "feel" more righteous in doing so but I also think to myself that there are many appointments that I keep in the day - There is often a great resistence among Christians to the suggestion that we should get up early to seek God when this should be the most important appointment of our day don't you think?
| 2005/11/11 16:45||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
| Re: Early Rising|
Here's a couple older, related threads;
[url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?viewmode=flat&order=0&topic_id=326&forum=35&post_id=&refresh=Go]Power Through Prayer[/url]
| 2005/11/12 0:32||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
| Re: Early Prayer|
In one moment she would be speaking to LaCombe (who asked her to write her autobiography), and at the next moment she would be speaking to God. This is fellowship. One does not know where fellowship with God begins and where it ends. Fellowship does not mean to set aside other affairs to pray. Nor does it mean to pray first and then deal with the affairs. [b]It is to do both simultaneously[/b].
Really like that and it is right along the same lines as "Practicing the Presence of God" that Brother Lawrence spoke about. Elsewhere here in this thread there was mention of this being something of a matter of greater than\lesser than or a matter of legalistic requirement. Would hope the above might draw out the import, the end results if you will.
From personal experience can only attest to how beggarly life is to launch forth on a new day without spending this sacred time alone in prayer and in reading Gods word. To be redundant it is not a "have to" but a "[i]Get to![/i]" It has become a time that I long for as the day comes full circle. If it was to ever become rote, mechanical or a 'task' it would be sheer hypocrisy to my soul and to Him who sees and knows our thoughts towards Him and to all that we set our minds on.
But for all that it is also at times incredibly difficult. With certainty to be kept from it (prayer) is something that I can state with assuredness that the adversary works diligently to accomplish. Think there is a possibility that to hear some speak of how much the devil hates prayer is just some kind of [i]Christianesse[/i] that we are supposed to believe. When Luther threw his ink pot at him he wasn't carried away with musings of his imagination. Not only to be kept from (and might interject here that we are quite capable of doing this without any outside help), but [i]while[/i] praying... the things that have dropped in out of nowhere at times are unmistakable, it can be a shocking audacity. Recall the Lords time of 'testing' in the wilderness, what unholy gumption and pride, the Liar of liars and accuser of the Brethren, it is uncanny and absurd. Distractions and subtle schemes,
2Co 2:1[i] Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.[/i]
There is something quite injurious to his kingdom that is wrought by prayer that he will oppose vigilantly and with a million tactics, some that seem quite innocent and even noble, the devil is a great theologian better than most, the greatest scripture twister context manipulator bar none. How it effects all this is a mystery, but it is evident enough.
Eph 6:12 [i]For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.[/i]
Is this a truth or just mere word-smithing? It is quite easy to give the head nod of acceptance and quite another to enter into the battle. Surely this is but one aspect of prayer as it goes on to further state; Eph 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
[b]Eph 6:18 -
Praying always[/b] - It would be well for the soldier who goes forth to battle to pray - to pray for victory; or to pray that he may be prepared for death, should he fall. But soldiers do not often feel the necessity of this. To the Christian soldier, however, it is indispensable. Prayer crowns all lawful efforts with success and gives a victory when nothing else would. No matter how complete the armor; no matter how skilled we may be in the science of war; no matter how courageous we may be, we may be certain that without prayer we shall be defeated. God alone can give the victory; and when the Christian soldier goes forth armed completely for the spiritual conflict, if he looks to God by prayer, he may be sure of a triumph. This prayer is not to be intermitted. It is to be always. In every temptation and spiritual conflict we are to pray; see notes on Luk_18:1.
[b]With all prayer and supplication[/b] - With all kinds of prayer; prayer in the closet, the family, the social meeting, the great assembly; prayer at the usual hours, prayer when we are specially tempted, and when we feel just like praying (see the notes, Mat_6:6) prayer in the form of supplication for ourselves, and in the form of intercession for others. This is, after all, the great weapon of our spiritual armor, and by this we may hope to prevail.
[i]Restraining prayer, we cease to fight;
Prayer makes the Christian armor bright,
And Satan trembles when he sees.
The meanest saint upon his knees[/i].
Think this is but only one aspect. Still more to develop and for the time being would hope that the thoughts expressed by Nee are as suggestions to our benefit not as hard and fast rules. Find even some things I might disagree with, but only by degree.
| 2005/11/12 9:33||Profile|
| Re: EARLY RISING by Watchman Nee|
Thanks for posting this article Shibu.
Personally, there is no excuse for me.
I don't have insomnia or any other health
issues. I don't work a night shift. Its AMAZING just how many examples in the Scriptures have of early risers so it must be a very important principle God wants at our
attention. Yes, as an American, we are on the most part 'lazy bible-believers' except for things that are not as important as career and 'other things'. I take this to heart.
| 2005/11/12 12:50||Profile|