When is the best time to set your mind on a peacefully, happy and productive day? Of course, it is either before we physically get out of bed or the first act, thereof. Ideally, the first words of out our mouths should be words of gratitude to the Lord, that we made it another day. Each day many do not have that privilege and blessing, and of course, one day, it will be our turn to transition into eternity.
But for now, the best discipline after rising is not heading for the coffee pot but towards prayer. Prayer to the Lord Most High, Maker of Heaven and earth, Who regardless of what non-believers say, made the earth six literal days - yet He has existed from Eternity Past. His goings are from long ago, the Bible says. He is the Ancient of Days, the Alpha and the Omega, beginning and the End Who sees the end from the beginning.
As we progress in physical age, we do need to stretch when standing downright upright and push-ups, backstretches and more are the way to go. The best stretching, however, is the one we do in order to benefit our very souls. Here are just a couple easy yet sometimes difficult to maintain, steps to begin this process more productively. These are actually a better use of time to engage the Bible with your prayer life and not lose interest or the zeal to continue.
Most Christians who follow these disciplines will sit down and start reading a chapter in the Bible, or pick out something at random. Very few, but enough actually follow a Bible reading plan. Picking a book or passage of the Bible at random to read through and then pray sometimes only lasts THAT long for the average person.
The best way to do this is:
- Step 1: FIRST - RIGHT OFF THE BAT - read a Psalm in the Bible and/or start reading through the entire New Testament, one chapter at a time. The Books of the New Testament are not just shorter than those of the Old Testament, but their chapters are shorter and to the point of the Life, Ministry and Expectations of Christ. If you decide to read a Psalm, read only ONE Psalm per day, or 8 or so verses of another long one, and then, close the Bible, thereby getting ready to proceed to Step 2.
- Step 2: In this daily morning time, we continue in our chair or quiet living room or study, and proceed to prayer time. What the reading of the Bible BEFORE praying does is to remove the tendency for our minds to stray off into la-la land and be easily distracted. The discipline (and it is a learned habit or discipline) engaged in here, focuses our minds and spirits right away on "The LORD says" in His Word, and no attack from the prince of darkness, who rules the air temporarily, can distract from this Truth! The other way, if you pray first and have a long list of requests for others and yourself, by the time you get to the Bible, the flesh and the mind are not in full alignment and the goal is to get this over with as soon as possible. If this is the case and a hard habit to break, it is better to continue with the Bible reading in the middle of the day at work, or during the lunch hour. This way, the Word of God is never disengaged from us, and we fulfill Psalm 1:2 where Scripture exhorts to meditate on the Word "day and night".
These two steps, when activated on a daily (preferable) or as much as possible, will not only enhance our Spiritual Maturity and Growth in Christ, but will, in very short time, become second nature. The key to enabling, activating and executing these two simple steps is Time. Each Christian can spare 5-10 minutes per morning to spend with the Lord in Bible reading and Prayer. He or she can most definitely spend that and more, during a busy day, if you and I prioritize, even if the kiddos are screaming for breakfast at 6:30 am and you are unable to find even two minutes to pray.
Make time for the Lord, when you can. It is the best investment in your day, you can ever make. The stock market is not even a close second. Rise and shine, and give God the Glory - and watch Him grant you and I, His peace, grace, love and mercy. Amen.