Now that both of my kids are in school, I’ve been getting back to a routine again. Ahhh, do you hear me breathing easier? 🙂
There’s just something comforting about a routine, isn’t there? We know where we need to be when, and it becomes automatic.
Last spring I developed a routine of getting up early to enjoy quiet time with God. It was soooo nice! Of course, getting up at 6:15 wasn’t always nice. But after I finished my time in the Bible, my head and heart were so much clearer.
Summer break sort of threw all my progress out the window. So last week I decided to revive my getting-up-early routine.
In the past, I’ve gone through all different phases of quiet time, from reading a devotional to journaling my prayers to working through a Bible study.
My current routine is my favorite, which is why I decided to share it with you. Maybe you’re stuck in a rut or don’t know where to start. Hopefully the ideas I share will awaken your creativity to make time with God a priority and actually enjoy it. 🙂
Here’s the breakdown of my routine:
– Preparing to meet with God actually starts the night before. I set out my clothes for the next day, get the coffeepot ready to brew, and set my Bible, notebooks, and a glass of water on the kitchen table right before I go to bed. Since I’m usually groggy in the morning, it helps to take away as much extra thinking and work as possible. I can wake up and go on auto-pilot with everything waiting for me.
– When I wake up, I get dressed, go to the bathroom, and then go straight downstairs to the table. (Sometimes I start the coffeepot first but not always.) No breakfast, no email, no little housework tasks. This is the true form of fasting for me. I’ve found that if I do my quiet time during breakfast, I get distracted taking bites, cleaning up spills, etc. I want to maximize every minute of quiet in my house and feed on God’s Word before anything else.
– Now that I’m sitting at the table, I start my time with Bible reading. I use the Life Application Bible and have been reading through the Bible for about 5 years now. In the past, I’ve done plans where you read through the Bible in a year, but never felt like I absorbed anything. So I decided to start in Genesis and read one small section at a time, reading all the footnotes. When something strikes me as a message I need to hear, I jot it down in a notebook and stop my reading for the day.
After 5 years, I’m in the book of Matthew and feel like I’ve absorbed more of the Bible than ever before. Stopping at a point of conviction helps me retain the message so much better.
– After my Bible reading, I pull out my journal and write down three things. I used to write out my prayers word for word, which was a big help to me at the time, but it was also time-consuming. My new method keeps things more time-friendly and gives me both gratitude and vision for the day.
Here are the three components I record:
1) Victories Yesterday – I write down specific things that happened the day before. These might include highlights (“Napped in the afternoon!”) or things I’m grateful for (“Date night with my hubby”) or victories over a challenge. Here’s one from my journal: “Got caught up in busyness yesterday, but after my son communicated clearly that he wanted me to play with him, I set aside the to-do list for a while. Thankful for the reminder that he needs time with me.”
See how that works? Easy peasy. It can be as brief or detailed as I want, and it helps me focus on the good things in my life and realize I have much to be grateful for. It also helps me celebrate my progress toward things I’m working on.
2) Bible Takeaway – After celebrating my victories, I write down the Bible takeaway I jotted down during my Bible study portion. If God has brought to mind a specific application for my life, I write about that as well. Some days, it’s a brief sentence or two. Other days, it becomes a written prayer. It just depends on how God speaks and what particular circumstances I’m facing.
Here’s an example: My Bible takeaway — “When we stay closely connected to God, His Spirit will enable us to do His will, despite the obstacles.” That day I wrote this: “A good reminder for my writing life. If I stay in step with God’s Spirit, He’ll guide me through the setbacks. Also applies to my marriage and family. I’ve been less patient with my husband and kids lately. Missed a couple morning devotion times this week, so I know these two go hand in hand. Time to get back in step with God.”
3) Goals for Today – After writing my victories and processing my Bible takeaway, I write down a few specific goals for the day. Sometimes these are tied in with my victories and Bible takeaways. Sometimes I take out my to-do list and listen for what God might ask me to do that day.
Here are some examples ranging from areas like motherhood to health to my spiritual walk: “Accomplish things around the house but also spend individual time with each member of my family.” “Drink 8 glasses of water.” “Listen to God’s leading at church today. What’s one thing He’s asking me to do this week?”
When I reopen my journal the next day, I look at yesterday’s goals to find victories. The two often go hand in hand. I love this process because it not only opens my heart to gratitude, it also incorporates listening to God’s leading and then setting specific goals to keep in mind throughout the day.
**UPDATE** I’m now offering these steps in a free printable! If you subscribe for monthly updates in my newsletter, I’ll send you a printable devotion sheet and prayer roadmap as my welcome gift. You can either sign up using the form in my sidebar or by clicking this link. Enjoy! 🙂
All of this might sound time-consuming, but I usually finish all these steps within 10-20 minutes, depending on how much I need to process for the day.
After journaling, I move into 5-10 minutes of prayer time (or however long my kids allow since they’re sometimes stirring at this point). 🙂
Obviously, you don’t have to do everything the same as I do. If you have a favorite chair you like to sit in or a different method of learning God’s Word or music you like to listen to while you read, by all means use it!
Just don’t neglect time with God. There’s no other way to refill your tank for all the tasks you face!
On Wednesday, I’ll be back here sharing specific things I do to keep my mind focused while I pray. See you then! 🙂
Bible photo 1 by ptnphoto/BigStock.com
Bible photo 2 by cdgrunewald/Lightstock.com