“I remind myself every morning: nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I'm going to learn, I must do it by listening.”
–Larry King, American TV and radio host
I’m a morning person now. What a surprise. Especially to me. But that wasn’t always the case. For the longest time, I used to accomplish most of my work at night thinking that those were the best hours of my day. And for that season of my life, they may have truly been the best hours. But that was until I switched to mornings and discovered for myself that I work even better after sunrise than after sunset. I’ll talk more about that transition in another post. But for today, I’d like to talk a little bit about my morning routine which includes morning devotions—time that I intentionally set aside to meet with my Father in heaven.
Like many of you, having consistent morning devotions has always been a thorn in my side. I know I should do it. I know it’s beneficial. But for one reason or another, I keep letting other things get in the way. On most mornings, I’m rushing to get out of the house for an early appointment. And whenever that happens, my time with God always gets sidelined amidst the chaos of it all. If you’re thinking about having morning devotions, here are some things that I’ve found helpful in establishing a consistent pattern.
Sleep earlier to wake up earlier. This was brutal on the first month that I committed to it. Since I was so used to working in the evening and sleeping at 2 AM, I had difficulty adjusting my sleeping time to before midnight. My body simply wouldn’t cooperate. In fact, it took weeks for my body to fully adjust to the new time. But I eventually made it. Whenever possible, I now try to get to bed around 11 PM. That then allows me to wake up at around 7 AM so that I can begin my morning routine. I then have ample time to do my morning devotions and meet with God. If you’re used to getting to bed at a late hour and want to switch to mornings, I suggest you adjust your sleeping habits gradually. Change your sleeping time by an hour at a time which will hopefully help your body adjust more smoothly.
Schedule it and commit to it. I set a time of the day when I commit to doing my morning devotions. On most days, I do it right before I start any major task. I find that there’s just something vital about doing devotions before anything else. It redirects my attention to God. It helps align my work to His kingdom purposes. It prepares my heart for whatever may come during the day. It allows me to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. It inspires me to give my best work to God. I find that doing my morning devotions as early as possible helps shape how the rest of my day will go.
Keep it simple. Since I’m always itching to get started on my day’s work, I try to keep my morning devotions as simple as possible. In fact, I spend just about 15-20 minutes of “chair time” (a phrase that I’ve borrowed from Bill Hybels). My routine is simple. I read 3 chapters of a particular book of the Bible. I jot down a few notes on my journal about what I just read. And finally, I spend a few minutes in prayer (I often write down my prayers on a piece of paper). Simple. The simplicity of my morning devotions helps keep me motivated to do it every day. Your morning devotions won't become much of a chore if you go about it in a simple way.
Do you do morning devotions? And what are some things you’ve found helpful in keeping you consistent?