I have never been a morning person. As a kid, my mom had the hardest time getting me up to get ready for school each day and I still struggle with that same battle today. I just really love sleep! However, over the years I have found that when I get up early and spend time with Jesus I feel much more rested, I have a better attitude, I’m less distracted and I am just an overall better human being.
I have written out some practical tips to help create this daily rhythm of spending time with Jesus and digging into his word each morning. This doesn’t work for everyone. Not everyone is able to set aside time each morning but more of us are able than we like to think. Here are some tips that will help if you desire starting your day in the word of God.
Prep the coffee the night before.
- Whether you’re a coffee person or not, you likely have some “First thing’s first” morning beverage or breakfast and you could easily prep the night before so that it’s easier to whip up when you first wake up. In our house, I prep the coffee maker where all I have to do is press a button and the coffee is ready in a couple of minutes.
Get up at the same time every day.
- This one was probably the hardest one to make stick. Whether you’re a career professional and your schedule flexes on whether or not you’re going to the gym or if you’re a student working weird hours and have late classes – look at your schedule, find the day that you have to get up the earliest, add in the time you want to spend with Jesus on top of everything else you need to do in the morning and set your alarm at that time every day no matter what your schedule is. I have found that I sleep better overall by getting up at the same time each day and I have much more time on my hands to get stuff done.
Find your spot.
- I’ve always had issues with the term “quiet time” because it makes you feel like you need to go to the library or a coffee shop to spend time with Jesus but that’s just not the case. If your time with Jesus includes singing worship music at the top of your lungs – maybe don’t go to the library. Find the spot that fits your needs for your time with Jesus. Some people like to go for a walk at the park and clear their mind before they dig into scripture. I go to the guest room in our house with my cup of coffee and my dog where I leave my bible, journal and an array of pens by the bed. Find your spot that fits your needs.
- When you’ve just woken up and you’ve only had your first sip of coffee, your mind may need some stretching before diving headfirst into scripture. Figure out a good warm up routine that’s quick and aligns your heart with the Lord. Think through what worship looks like for you. Start there and start small. Your brain will thank you for the warm up and you’re so much more likely to get more from your time in scripture.
Read it twice.
- I have found that by reading a passage of scripture two days in a row, I learn tremendously more from the word than if I just moved on to the next chapter. This is a practice that I began as a college student serving in Argentina for the summer as my team read through the book of Acts. There was something so special about receiving a new message from the Lord on the second day even though I was reading through the same passage from the day before. Give it a try!
Write it out.
- Whether you live jotting notes in the margins or you are like me and just have way too many words and need a journal handy – write it out! Whatever the Lord is teaching you, whatever is on your heart, whatever confuses you or doesn’t make sense? Write it out.
Do it anyway.
- We are imperfect, sinful humans and we are going to have days where we just don’t want to spend time with Jesus – whether we are honest and admit that to ourselves or not. Do it anyway. I had a conversation last summer with a student who said she wanted to find a way to cultivate a stronger desire to read the bible and my advice to her and so many others is to read it whether you have the desire or not and the longing and the desire will come. The Holy Spirit is working in us and uses what we read for our good whether we want to meet with him or not. The only way to create a daily rhythm of spending time with Jesus is to do it daily whether you really want to or not. We’re selfish at our core so even when you don’t want to get up and spend time with Jesus – do it anyway.
Stick to the basics.
- There are tons of resources, books, commentaries, devotionals, blogs, articles, etc. that are made to help you with your study of scripture but when working to cultivate these daily spiritual rhythms, stick to the basics. Bible, journal, worship music, trusted ink pens. All of these resources are good but they are no substitute for the living and active word of God. Throwing in too many extras will just take up time that you’ve set aside to spend with Jesus – save the extras for later.
Share with a friend.
- Whether you have a formal accountability partner walking alongside your faith journey or you call up a friend on the regular – having open dialogue with another brother or sister in Christ about what Jesus is teaching you in your time with him is so important. Community is not only healthy but it is necessary. Find yours. This faith journey is not a race against one another but a march forward with linked arms pressing onward together. Identify those people in your life that are a safe place for you to share openly and honestly – and share with them often.
Get a watch.
- In a world where we rely on our phones for everything, we don’t always want to admit what a distraction they can be. Needing to keep up with the time does not have to be another reason to have a distraction nearby when you’ve gotten up early to read the word of God. Leave your phone across the room or in your bag when you spend time with the Lord. It just takes one quick check of a notification for you to wake up from your insta-slumber and realize you’ve spent 30 minutes scrolling. Get a watch – put the phone away.
I hope these tips are helpful and encouraging to you as you work to build those spiritual disciplines and put those rhythms in place.