Managing Change: Spending Time with God in the Morning
October 25, 2022 | Andrew Zakhari
First things first: Sleep!
The secret to the start of a good morning begins with the previous night’s sleep. The wise Puritan pastor, Richard Baxter, advises:
“Let the time of your sleep be matched to your health and labor.”
He knows that each person needs a different amount of sleep to feel well rested for the next morning. Know how much sleep you need to be energized the next morning. Not sleeping too much or too little may greatly improve your spiritual living. Why is this important? It’s easier to be patient when you are well rested!
If you have a newborn baby or young children, sleep is unpredictable. Communing with God during these years will be life-changing in their own way. Feeling tired and under rested gives us the opportunity to accept our limitations, do what matters most, and ask God to make good our efforts to love others and get to know him better. It’s to the weak and weary God promises spiritual rest and his perfect grace.
Second: Start spending the day with God right away
Spending the day with God can begin when you open your eyes. Each new day of life comes from God. Acknowledging God in prayer upon waking, recognizes that he is the one who open our eyes each morning. Baxter writes:
“Let God have your first awakening thoughts; lift up your hearts recently and thankfully for the rest enjoyed the night before.”
Beginning each morning with prayer can also remind us that it was in the early morning hours that Jesus was raised from the dead and opened his eyes to new life. Because Jesus rose from the dead, you can approach each day with the hope that his resurrection brings to the world.
If you find it difficult to think clearly upon waking, I recommend praying familiar passages or prayers such as Psalm 23 and the Lord’s prayer. Or you can pray a simple prayer like this: Lord, the night has passed away, I give you thanks for the start of a new day. Keep me from all sin and evil. May I glorify you on this day.”
Third: Engage with Scripture before you leave the house
At some point in the morning routine you may have time for Scripture reading and prayer. If you do not have time for this, and only have time to focus on getting out the door – a change is needed, and that is okay!
Often what prevents us from spending time with God is having an inflexible framework and air-tight rules on what makes up devotions. We can get caught up in the doing of devotions rather than simply being with God. God can do so much with the time we give him. It is our intentional engagement that makes the biggest difference.
Suppose you only have time to read a couple of verses of the Psalms – do so slowly and prayerfully.
Perhaps the best way you can spend time with God in the morning is reciting memory verses while you pack lunches. As you can pack, recite the verse and pray for the members of your house.
If you are able to, set aside at least 10 minutes in the morning for Scripture reading. I recommend following these commentaries and devotional resources:
The first two listed are popular level Bible commentaries on each book of the Bible. Choose a book of the Bible you want to learn more from this year. The authors translate a section of each book of the Bible and provide reflections on the passage spanning 2-4 pages. This will help you grow deeper in your knowledge of the Bible in bite-size chunks even if you don’t have a lot of time to devote each day.
John Stott’s book is short one page reflections that will take you through the entire Bible in one year.
Start and finish your scripture reading with prayer. Pray before you read for understanding. Pray after reading that God would apply what you have learned to your life and the life of others around you. Don’t forget to lift up people on your prayer list.
Having Young Kids
You might be thinking, this isn’t possible with a young family. However, you can develop the habits of family devotions together this fall. Maybe your morning routine includes breakfast around the table or a car ride. Use this time to take a few minutes to be with God together.
For years, with varying degrees of success, my family and I have used the New City Children’s Catechism. There’s also a FREE app in the app store. Each day (or week) one truth from the Bible is explained. There are supporting Scripture verses to read, and even a song to help memorize the truth. It takes about 5-7 minutes. The children grow to love the songs and start to understand the Scriptural truths better.
Or read a story from the children’s Bible and sing a familiar song in response.
Spending time with God has more to do with paying attention to God throughout the day rather than setting aside many hours for reading and private prayer. Tomorrow morning is a great time to start!
Imagine how different mornings would go if your day was launched with communing with God before you walk out the door?
Want more on Spending time with God? Next post will be about Spending Time with God in the Workplace.