When I was single, I couldn’t wait for my morning time of coffee and Bible reading. As a teacher, that meant waking up at 5:00 AM, and spending the next two hours doing my devotions and getting ready for work before leaving the house at 7:00 AM to make my morning meeting each day.
It was systematic and a bit extreme.
First, I went down the long hallway to start the coffee, headed back to shower, curled up on a coach in the sitting area of my bedroom, and read my Bible in peace and quiet. Once my hair was a bit dry, I would go back to the bathroom, blow dry, set my hair in Velcro curlers, do my makeup, and then sit back down in the sitting area to pray and listen to worship music. Then I would brush out my hair before dressing and head out the door. I loved my morning routine!
It was timed down to the minute. And it was all about what worked best for me.
Fast forward ten years, a husband, three little boys who are early risers, and a household to maintain. And the guilt sinks in because I don't do my devotions early in the morning.
Certainly, waking up early to meet with God would be ideal, and there are lots of passages in the Bible that speak to rising early to meet with God, but it’s not a mandate for our lives. It simply was no longer the best option for me.
For a long time, I kept thinking that I HAD to have my devotions in the morning. But then, I couldn’t find that in Scripture. And it certainly was not working for me. There was this myth in my head that said, “If you don’t start the day with a period of time with God, you are going to blow it the rest of the day.”
Except that idea rules out the fact that my faith and Godliness do not depend on some magical time of day, but instead on the Holy Spirit’s working in my life.
It rules out the fact that I have God’s Word hidden in my heart. It rules out that I have the Holy Spirit who commands my heart and mind at all times and in all circumstances-even at 6:00 AM before I have had my coffee and my kids want breakfast.
And it rules out the truth that religious rule-making is not how we become more like Christ. Skipping devotions first thing in the morning is not responsible for how my day goes. My personal relationship with the Lord is what dictates my character.
And so I threw out the idea that if I didn’t have my devotions first thing in the morning, I was a hopeless case and the day would go amuck. When 12:30 rolls around, I put my little boys down for naps and set my oldest son on the couch in the nearby room to read books and play with Legos. And in the short quiet moments of the afternoon, I began a new pattern for spending my time with the Lord. Sometimes it involves interruptions, and the 30 minutes I spend is less than half the time I used to relish. But it is more than enough for me. God uses that time to bless me and enrich my relationship with Him.
Each afternoon, what I gain from my time with God carries over to the next afternoon. When I wake up, I greet the Lord by saying, “Good morning, Jesus!” and I swing my legs out of bed. As I walk to the kitchen, I begin my first of many prayers for the day, asking God to bless us and give me the inspiration I need to be the best wife and mother I can be and that I would honor God.
And God breathes life into me.
I don’t stress out over the fact that I take 2 years to read my 1 year Bible. If on some days, I can only read the small portion from my favorite devotional book, Spurgeon’s Day by Day, then God helps me to fully meditate and embrace the brief passage there and the truth of it for my life that day. If my prayer request list is 20 items long, and in that uninterrupted time I only get through the first few that God lays on my heart, then I know that is what I was most meant to surrender that day. It’s okay.
Parents and singles-we all have busy lives and many responsibilities. Waking up in the morning and early rising with God on our hearts and minds is crucial to having a Godly mindset throughout the day. Get creative. Use the morning to memorize a verse for the week. Or determine that at the turn of the hour, you will remember to pray for a certain prayer request until you can have your devotion time. Perhaps you can mull over the main idea from the weekend’s sermon at church and how you can live it out.
“So, my dear friends, listen carefully; those who embrace these my ways are most blessed. Mark a life of discipline and live wisely; don’t squander your precious life. Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me, awake and ready for me each morning, alert and responsive as I start my day’s work. When you find me, you find life, real life, to say nothing of God’s good pleasure. But if you wrong me, you damage your very soul; when you reject me, you’re flirting with death.”
Proverbs 8:32-36, The Message
If your schedule and lifestyle allows for you to have devotions first thing in the morning-great! But don’t beat yourself up if for a chapter in your life, spending an hour in the morning to read your Bible is not doable for you. But we can be awake and ready, first thing in the morning to be sensitive to God’s work in our lives. I firmly believe that making a time of Bible devotions and prayer is a must for growing in the Lord every day. But, let’s not become legalistic about what that looks like. I have been extremely blessed by my afternoon times with the Lord. If you are not making this a priority in your life, I urge you to do so, and hopefully the freedom to know that God delights in us when we come to meet with Him, whatever time of day, will cause your heart to eagerly anticipate that time too.
Rise early, settle in for the afternoon, or reflect in the evening. Do what is the best option for you. But do it. And don’t reserve that quiet time of devotions as the only time you are spending with God. Remember that He is always near, and that every moment of the day is a living and breathing devotion to Him.
YOUR TURN!! What resources do you use for your devotions time? What time of day works best for you? What is keeping you from making the commitment to spend time with God on a regular basis? If this post blessed you, please SHARE it with others! I love to hear from you!!
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