Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. - Mark 1:35
This year our theme is Developing 24: Becoming Life Jesus – a full year focused on what it means to live like Jesus would, think like He would, interact, speak, and act as He would within our own lives and context.
One of the best things to do is to look at His life and imitate Him and to also spend time with Him now, daily, building a relationship with Him – speaking to Him (prayer) and listening to Him (through Word and through the Spirit).
In Mark 1:35, we learn that Jesus got up early, when it was quiet and spent time in prayer to start His day. That reflects Psalm 119:147 …I rise early, before the sun is up; I cry out for help and put my hope in your words. This is something I would recommend to anyone who follows Jesus – to start off your day with Jesus.
This is what it looked like in my life this morning. (Thursday, 1.19.24)
Today, I started at 5am – we had a staff meeting at 6:30am so I had to get ready.
Typically, I start with reading the verse of the day before anything else. Today…Jack the Dog had to go out, and I have learned that if I don’t take him out right away, I will be taking more time to clean up something, so out we went to start the day. (It was very cold outside and that woke me up quick.)
Back inside and after feeding him, I sat down on the sofa (no coffee cup like is in the picture – I am not a coffee drinker, but the picture looked so inviting, I included it.)
First thing – open the Bible App – You version and read through the Verse of the Day (2 Corinthians 9:6 was the verse for this day) and then I post it on Facebook for others to see. I think through what the verse means.
Next, I read some devotions from You version. Right now, I am reading a couple since we just finished “Growth Spurt” which a lot of you did as well. One is a Chapter a Day – Read Through the Bible in 3 Years: 3rd Year, 3rd Quarter – Ezekiel 6 and the other was Near to the Broken Hearted: Day 2 – this one I highly recommend. I also read a short devotion from Bear Grylls, Soul Fuel and also a page from Strength for Today for Men.
Right now, my time with Jesus is really reading heavy. I like to read, but I wouldn’t recommend this many things. It can make me scattered and focused on just getting it done. I think it would be better to focus on one thing and do that well. Once I get done with one of these, I will not add a new one – just keep going on the ones I have left.
Next, I get down on my knees on the rug in my room and spend time in prayer – first a prayer of submission, then I pray through my schedule and what I have going on that day, and then for my family, one by one, and then other people and their needs as I think through different things I have heard throughout the week. I want to spend more time thanking God and confessing to God, but for now those areas are a little week.
I try to be quiet before the Lord and listen. Once I have finished the prayer, I am done and go on to the next thing.
(Quick disclosure: I tried for multiple years in my 20’s to establish a quiet time and failed many times. It took a long time for the Holy Spirit to build this discipline in me. I am glad He has been patient with me.)
Sometimes, during this time, I encounter exactly what I need to hear or read for that day or for a specific situation. Other times, it is more like eating a meal – you get strength from it, but can’t really pinpoint a specific thing it is doing for me. Just adds life to my life. The key for me is to spend this time regularly with Jesus and like any relationship look for it to grow just by taking the time to be together.
Here are the key elements:
That’s really all there is too it, but it’s worth it. I wouldn’t know how to start my day without it.
So, I would love to hear from you. What does your time with God look like? What do you read? Where do you go? What time of day works best for you? What have you gained from the time? What struggles have you experienced? Email me and let me know. I would love to hear from you (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I believe God wants to be with us and spend time with us. Any relationship needs the same thing – time together.
So, take time today or tomorrow morning and just meet with Jesus. Jesus carved out time in His schedule for prayer. It was important to Him. Let’s be like Jesus.