When something is important to you, you want to do it right away. You prioritize it over other things.
The Hebrew word shachar (שָׁחַר) means “dawn” or “morning.” Twelve times in the Old Testament, it appears as a verb instead of a noun. What does it mean to “dawn” something? It means to do it first thing, as early as possible, and to do it eagerly and earnestly.
Here are a few examples:
- “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee” (Psalm 63:1).
- “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me” (Proverbs 8:17).
- “With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early” (Isaiah 26:9).
In each of these passages, the words “seek early” are a translation of the verb shachar. Some other Bible translations render this word as “to seek earnestly” or “to seek eagerly,” to capture the implied meaning of the word, but the King James version is closer to the literal meaning, “to dawn.”
In an 1832 revelation, the Lord made the following promise:
He that seeketh me early shall find me, and shall not be forsaken.Doctrine and Covenants 88:83
One way to apply this principle is that we should seek God early in life. Alma counseled his son Helaman, “Learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.” (Alma 37:35).
Another interpretation is simply that we should respond without delay when we receive an invitation from Him. Amulek told the Zoramites, “Now is the time and the day of your salvation.” He urged them not to procrastinate, but to turn their hearts toward God immediately (Alma 34:31-33).
President Henry B. Eyring shared a third interpretation. After quoting the passage from Proverbs above, he said:
That is as true of a day as it is of a life. A morning prayer and an early search in the scriptures to know what we should do for the Lord can set the course of a day. We can know which task, of all those we might choose, matters most to God and therefore to us. I have learned such a prayer is always answered if we ask and ponder with childlike submission, ready to act without delay to perform even the most humble service.“This Day,” General Conference, April 2007
Today, I will seek the Lord early. I will prioritize activities that bring me closer to Him, including prayer and scripture study, and will do them first.