My daughter Kennedi closed out 2019 by attending the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ (FCA) Leadership Camp. It was an absolutely amazing camp (her words) held at the ridiculously awesome sports facility in Lancaster, PA, called the Spooky Nook.
During the camp, the attendees were given a guide about the importance of morning quiet time with God, which included this week’s Strategy scripture. I smiled as I read through the document, but also felt a twinge of guilt, knowing that I had slacked some on my morning devotions in the 2nd half of the year.
Sure, I prayed every morning, but most times it was just going through the To-Do list I was asking God to perform for me. I found myself saying repetitive prayers more out of routine and tradition than out of desire and passion.
Or I was falling asleep during prayer – even though I had the nerve to judge Peter, James and John for falling asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane on that fateful night (I understand now).
I had gotten away from my morning ritual of declaring the scriptures and calling out the things I was believing for in my life, my marriage, my family, my career, and my spiritual walk.
If I think back through the year, I probably started getting lazy during the summer break from school, as I could sleep in later since I didn’t have to get the troops ready for school. And I just never got back into the swing of things, even when the school year started back up again in September.
I justified my actions, arguing (to myself) that I talked to God throughout the day, so it was OK.
I opened my Bible app to find the book of Mark. I wanted to understand what happened the day before, since the scripture referenced “the next morning.”
As I read through the 1st chapter of Mark, I learned that Jesus was teaching in the synagogue, casting out demons, and healing people with all kinds of sicknesses and diseases!
After a day like that, I’m sure Jesus had to be revitalized from the day before. And He did that by getting up before the sun and finding a secluded place to pray to His Father.
I guess He knew He would need to recharge, as the next day he went back out again to preach, heal, and cast out demons.
Jesus had big things to do and made sure He started His day off connecting to God, to ensure He had the strength to complete His assignment for that day.
As we read about Jesus through the Gospels, we see many instances of Jesus going off by himself to pray. We know all the amazing things He did throughout His ministry on earth, but how often do we talk about the preparation He followed to ensure He would fulfill His mission each day?
This was just the reminder that I needed to kick off the new year/decade by getting back into my morning routine of connecting with my Creator.
I have big plans and accomplishments that are waiting on me this year. But there is no way that I can fulfill everything that I’m supposed to complete in my own strength.
What do you have planned to do this year? Or even for tomorrow? I can’t stress enough how important this strategy is to help us meet our goals and be victorious in 2020.
My daughters once shared with me a lesson they had been taught in their youth ministry at our church that has stayed with me: We regularly charge our phones each day, even multiple times a day, for them to be useful and provide the power we need to use them. If we use up the battery and don’t recharge it, the phone is absolutely of no use to us, as it’s not serving its purpose.
If you are not connecting to God and allowing Him to recharge your life, refuel your spirit, rejuvenate your mind, and revitalize your passion, then what are you spending your day doing? Are you functioning at the highest level that you are able to?
Are you ensuring you have everything you need to meet all those goals you made? And those dreams that you are pursuing – are you positioning yourself in the best possible manner to fulfill them?
As you kick off your time with God, ensure the connection is not one-directional. Many times, we just drop off our laundry list of prayer requests and don’t bother to listen and receive or hear anything back from Him.
God sometimes answers through our spirit, and the more we spend time with Him, the easier it will be for us to recognize His voice. But He can also speak to us through sermons, scriptures, and all types of media – TV shows, videos, movies, songs, books, and blogs just to name a few. And of course, the Bible is probably one of the biggest channels we have in which to hear from Him.
This is only for those that have major things to accomplish this year: I challenge you, starting tomorrow, to meet God first thing in the morning.
And if you don’t have any plans, and just want to keep going through the same motions and struggles in your life, go ahead and sleep in tomorrow.
Think about a place in your home and a designated time in which you could meet God tomorrow morning.
You can start your day off with a prayer – just ask God to meet you every morning and to speak to you in a manner so that you know it’s Him.
Then find a scripture to read – you can start with Mark 1 if you don’t know where to go first – and ask God what He’s saying to you through His Word. You can also use a devotional
Feel free to share your response in the comments section…