Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Scripture Master Tip #14: Study In The Morning

14. Study in the morning. 

This one is hard for everyone but missionaries and General Authorities.  It is difficult for most of us to make time to study in the morning because in most people’s lives the morning is when they are the busiest.  School usually starts pretty early, and most people leave for work fairly early in the morning.  If you have kids then you have to get them ready and out the door too, and that's a big project in itself.

Nevertheless it is worth rearranging your schedule so you can study your scriptures in the morning if possible.  The reason why you should make an effort to make time in the morning for scripture study is because the morning is when your mind should be at its most refreshed and receptive. The morning is therefore the best time to try to attune your self to the voice and inspiration of the spirit.

It is generally a rule for missionaries to do their personal and companionship studies in the morning. This is because the Church naturally desires to maximize the inspiration that these young men and women can receive each day.  The brethren have learned (from their own years of experience and intimate acquaintance with the scriptures and the inspiration of the Holy Ghost) that the morning is the best time to study and to receive personal revelation, and naturally they desire that those young men who represent the Lord day in and day out  for two years might also learn to gain access to this same well of sublime divine inspiration.

It should also be mentioned that the reason why missionaries are in a position to gain such inspiration in the morning is because they also make sure to go to bed early.   I don't think that it is unreasonable to suggest emulating the missionaries in at least this aspect of their discipline.  After all, what was it that Benjamin Franklin said? "Early to bed and early to rise..." Certainly, as representatives of Jesus Christ, the missionaries can use all of the health, wealth, wisdom, and inspiration that they can get.  Well, why are you any different? Do you think that you can do with less health, wealth, wisdom, and inspiration in your life?
"I have learned that the best time to wrestle with major problems is early in the morning. Your mind is then fresh and alert. The blackboard of your mind has been erased by a good night’s rest. The accumulated distractions of the day are not in your way. Your body has been rested also. That’s the time to think something through very carefully and to receive personal revelation.
I’ve heard President Harold B. Lee begin many a statement about matters involving revelation with an expression something like this: “In the early hours of the morning, while I was pondering upon that subject,” and so on. He made it a practice to work on the problems that required revelation in the fresh, alert hours of the early morning.

The Lord knew something when He directed in the Doctrine and Covenants, “Cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated” (D&C 88:124). . . .I counsel our children to do their critical studying in the early hours of the morning when they’re fresh and alert, rather than to fight physical weariness and mental exhaustion at night. I’ve learned that the dictum “Early to bed, early to rise” is powerful.  When under pressure—for instance, when I was preparing this talk—you wouldn’t find me burning the midnight oil. Much rather I’d be early to bed and getting up in the wee hours of the morning, when I could be close to Him who guides this work."  (Boyd K. Packer, "Self-Reliance," Ensign, Aug. 1975, 86–89).
Don't be discouraged if you are unable to study in the morning because of work or school schedules.  Studying in the morning is probably best, but studying the scriptures at any time of day will be immensely beneficial to you, even if you do miss some of the benefits of studying in the morning.  The point is that, even if you can't study in the morning (which would be ideal), at the very least you need to have a specific time of day set aside for study, no matter how busy you may be.

“Many find that the best time to study is in the morning after a night’s rest has cleared the mind of the many cares that interrupt thought. Others prefer to study in the quiet hours after the work and worries of the day are over and brushed aside, thus ending the day with a peace and tranquility that comes by communion with the scriptures.  Perhaps what is more important than the hour of the day is that a regular time be set aside for study.”  (Howard W. Hunter, "Reading the Scriptures," Ensign, Nov. 1979, 64)
"My experience suggests that a specific and scheduled time set aside each day and, as much as possible, a particular place for study greatly increase the effectiveness of our searching in and study of the scriptures."  (David A. Bednar, "Because We Have Them before Our Eyes,"  New Era, Apr. 2006).

“The only way you can be sure that a busy schedule doesn’t crowd out scripture study is to establish a regular time to study the scriptures” (President Henry B. Eyring, "A Discussion on Scripture Study," Ensign, July 2005, 24).

Next tip:  Scripture Master Tip #15:  Write Down What You Learn

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