I don’t watch the news in the mornings. In fact, except for the Weather Channel, I seldom even turn on the TV in the mornings. I also don’t listen to the radio, or read the newspaper in the mornings. Why not? I quit watching the morning news or reading the morning newspaper because it so rarely lifted my spirits. Think about it: Do you really believe Good Morning America can get your day moving in the right direction? Do you really want to begin your day armed with depressing news and mindless chatter?
There’s a better way to get your day up and running. Now, I realize you need to know what’s going on in the world, but you have the rest of the day to hear about it. Whether you’re a morning person or not it is important how you start your day. It is important to fill your mind with things that will empower you. Listen to music that inspires you. Read something that uplifts you. Make sure that you start your day by putting into your mind things that will strengthen you and make you receptive to God.
If you are a music person, spend some time each day listening to good music — whether quiet, peaceful, reverent, uplifting, worship music, or loud, joyful, celebrative, uplifting, praise music – it will make you receptive to God. Iam not much of a music person myself, especially when it come to Christian contemporary music. (The O Band that my son in law Eric leads is an exception!) So listening to Christian music seldom has the desired effect on me. For years I felt guilty about that. Then I realized that what I needed was not to learn to appreciate Christian music but to find something that would make me receptive to God. So now sometimes in the morning but more often in the afternoon or evening I read something that I know will inspire me. Sometimes, I get out my Bible and read a Psalm or a Proverb to myself. Psalm 23 is one of my favorites. So is Psalm 16, and Psalm 30. No doubt as you read through the Psalms, there will be some that speak especially to you. After I read the Psalms, I usually read a passage from the New Testament. I usually read a few verses each day as I work my way through a book of the Bible. Right now, I’m reading one of my favorite epistles Paul’s letter to the Colossians. As I read the short passage I’m reading that day —usually 6 or 7 verses— I ask these questions:
What is this God telling me to do today through this Scripture? Is He using it to pointing out a sin in my life? Is He using it to challenge me to step out in faith? Is He using it to tell me to take a certain action? It never fails: when I read the Bible God teaches me something. He shows me something I need to do, or something I need to know. As I close my Bible, I know God has something in mind for me to do THAT DAY. Maybe it’s to spend time talking with my wife or calling my daughters or emailing my grandsons. Maybe it’s to call my mom or dad. Maybe it’s to apologize to someone I’ve offended. Every day, through reading Scripture I receive God anew into my day.
Sometimes I turn to the Gospels and read an incident from the life of Christ or one of His teachings. Sometimes I read a familiar section from one of the many writings of C.S. Lewis. I love reading C.S. Lewis!
What you need to do is find what makes you want to praise the Lord. If music, great; if reading Scripture, great; if watching a video, great; if listening to a podcast, great! The idea is each day to do something that makes you want to praise the Lord.
I am not a morning person but I do have a morning prayer that I’ve said each morning for probably 30 years — almost every day I pray this same prayer before I leave my bedroom: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. Take me today and make be totally Yours. From the top of my head to the bottom of my feet fill me with your Holy Spirit today. Help me to overcome the Evil One and to stand as a covering for all those whom You place under my pastoral care. Father, help me to love you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love others as much as I love myself. Please let others see You because of the fruit of the Spirit that you bring to maturity in my life today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Often I end my day by reading (and praying) an old prayer that dates back to the fifth century. I find its words to be a great blessing to me.
“This day I’ve called to me: God’s strength to direct me, God’s power to sustain me, God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s vision to light me, God’s ear to my hearing, God’s word to my speaking, God’s hand to uphold me, God’s pathway before me, God’s shield to protect me, God’s legions to save me: from snares of the demons, from evil enticements, from failings of nature, from one man or many that seek to destroy me a near or afar.”
This prayer reminds me that not only my day but my life are entirely in God’s hands.
During my priority time with God I don’t want to see anyone or to talk to anyone. Whether it is in the evening or in the morning I want to spend it entirely alone in the presence of God.
Time with God to speak my mind and fill my heart is one of my core values. Try it and it will become one of yours!