Psalm 63 communicates King David’s profound love for God. So deep was his desire for intimate fellowship with the Lord that, even in the desert, David longed for Him more than water:
“O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1, NKJV).
The phrase translated “early will I seek You” in the King James Version is rendered differently in most modern translations. For example: “Earnestly I seek you” (NIV, ESV), “I eagerly seek you” (CSB), and “I earnestly search for you” (NLT). In the original Hebrew, the concept of seeking in Psalm 63:1 refers to diligent, wholehearted searching that involves a strong desire focused on developing a relationship with the desired object. Seeking the Lord early in the morning may result from our eager, earnest longing for fellowship with God, but there is no biblical requirement for when we must pursue Him.
On another occasion, David declares, “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” (1 Chronicles 16:11, ESV). Seeking the Lord in prayer is something believers ought to do at all times, continually, and without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17; see also Colossians 1:9–12). Epaphras prayed “always” and “earnestly” for the Colossians (Colossians 4:12). In Luke 18:1–8, Jesus tells the parable of the persistent widow to show His disciples that “they should always pray and never give up” (verse 1).
Seeking the Lord in prayer is not about checking all the right boxes. Instead, it’s about developing a living, vibrant, spontaneous relationship with God our Father. Many Christians get too caught up in rules. They want to know, “When should I pray? Should I pray early in the morning or late at night? How often do I pray? Should I sit down or stand up? What words are appropriate to say?” Jesus put an end to all these concerns when He answered the Samaritan woman’s questions about worship: “The time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23–24, NLT).
Seeking the Lord is not a matter of when, where, and how. It is a matter of the heart. Any time is the right time to draw near to God in prayer (Acts 17:27; James 4:8). If we pray and seek the Lord sincerely, from the heart, He promises to hear us (1 John 5:14–15). His invitation is always open. Jesus welcomes us to come, release our heavy burdens, and find rest in His presence (Matthew 11:28).
Unlike some religions that stipulate prayer at certain times and in specific postures, the Bible does not mention such formal regulations. Asking the question, “Do we have to seek the Lord early in the morning?” is similar to asking, “Do I have to talk to my spouse or children early in the morning?” We seek the Lord out of our desire for intimate fellowship with Him, just as we speak to our loved ones as part of our natural, interpersonal relations among family members.
We can seek the Lord early in the morning (Psalm 5:3; Genesis 28:18–22; 1 Samuel 1:19; 2 Kings 6:15–17; Psalm 88:13; 92:1–2; Mark 1:35), late at night (Psalm 141:1–2; Genesis 24:63; 2 Chronicles 7:11–12; Ezra 9:5–15; Psalm 42:8; Matthew 14:23; Luke 6:12), and any time in between (Psalm 55:17; Daniel 6:10; Acts 3:1; 1 Timothy 5:5). The apostle Paul said he prayed “often” and “day and night” (Romans 1:9–10, NLT; see also 2 Timothy 1:3). “Night and day we pray earnestly for you, asking God to let us see you again to fill the gaps in your faith,” wrote Paul to the believers in Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 3:10, NLT).
Rather than viewing prayer as an obligation to fulfill, David reminds us in Psalm 63:1 to see our time in fellowship with the Lord as a profound privilege. Instead of asking, “Do I have to seek the Lord early in the morning?” we will begin to think, “Wow, I get to seek the Lord early in the morning!” or “I can’t wait to seek the Lord early in the morning!”