By Robert Puckett
I am curious about how most of us spend our mornings throughout the week. Some, I would imagine, are very disciplined at waking up several hours before they have to be somewhere. They fill their mornings with reading the paper (I may be aging myself) or tablet, exercising, or possibly even a devotional time. Some of us might get out of the bed at the very last minute, grab a cold bagel, and eat it on the way to work or school. And some of us might fall in the middle; trying to have some form of routine, which might get us ready for our day mentally, physically and spiritually. For all of us, it takes forming a routine or a habit to really make the most of our mornings. After all, once we get to our morning destination the day is full-on with multiple tasks, responsibilities, calls, emails, practices, assignments and appointments.
To be honest, establishing a morning routine takes a little discipline, and it changes as we move into different seasons of life. Personally, I have struggled for years trying to create the “perfect” quiet time. I will let you in on a little secret: there is no such thing as a ”perfect” quiet or devoted time. What is important is that we keep showing up and choosing to spend time with our most important relationship. Eugene Peterson wrote a book called, “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society.” I like that title, and it is a good reminder for us of what our morning time can look like: long or consistent obedience in the same direction.
I want to take just a moment to share what a morning routine might look like, and the reason I even have a morning routine to begin with. Let’s start with the latter. I have a devoted time (some call it a “quiet time”) because from the beginning God has desired to spend time with us. I love Jesus and want to connect with Him first thing in the morning, before my day gets so involved. God initiates, we respond. We can see that repeated rhythm throughout the Old and New Testament. I think we should continue to follow that pattern. Jesus told us in Matthew 22:37-39, “And he said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Setting aside time in the morning is a great way to get our hearts, soul and mind in alignment with our Creator, and believe me, I personally need that adjustment daily. Secondly, setting aside time, and having a little margin is a great way to think about who is our neighbor; how we can love and serve others in our work, school, and community environments.
Here are a few suggestions for starting your day:
- Space: Find a comfortable space (but not too comfortable).
- Prayer: Thank God for who He is, confess sin, and give thanks for His forgiveness found in Christ. Give thanks for His care, constant presence in our lives, and conclude by praying for others needs, as well as your own.
- Bible Reading: Keep it simple by following a reading plan, like the 5x5x5 Bible Reading Plan or the reading plans found at YouVersion. God’s Word is our road map for daily living (Psalm 119:105).
- Journaling: Give it a go with a paper notebook or with an electronic device (e.g. phone, tablet, laptop).
Some simple Journal Questions to get you started:
• What did I do yesterday?
• What lessons did I learn?
• What am I thankful for right now?
• How am I feeling right now?
• What did I read today?
• What did God say, and what will I do about it?
• What are my plans for today?
Thank you for letting me take a few minutes to address an area very important to our mornings, and establishing habits that set the tone for our day.
What are some barriers that make a morning quiet time difficult for you? What is working for you in a morning quiet time?
Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.