The precepts, although a monk recites to us and we repeat, seems as though we go to take the precepts, as if somebody is giving us the precepts, but actually nobody needs to give us the precepts. Precepts are what we practice, precepts are what we undertake.
The wording is ‘I undertake the training precepts’. When we want to maintain the precepts and actually practice them in our lives, then that is our training. It’s ours, not for anyone to give us.
I wouldn’t say that getting up early in the morning to go and take the precepts is necessarily getting merit because if we felt grumpy about it then it’s not kusala. Kusala is what is in the mind, not the bodily action.
There are actions that can lead to kusala, but is your mind having kusala? If the mind is not happy about doing it, then you’re not getting the kusala.