Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Start Your Day With Prayer...

“This is the day the Lord has made, now let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24 NIV)

The alarm pierces its’ resounding echo throughout “the land of sweet slumber” and starts the cycle that many have become familiar with!

We bounce out of bed, and then with both feet on the floor, we hit the shower running! We stand with the water spewing its’ tiny droplets over top of us, while mentally trying to overview the events that lie ahead in our busy day... all while we lather and rinse!

We then emerge from the bath chambers, and while continually glancing frantically at the clock, we note the precious minutes of our day that have disappeared already! We dry, get dressed, suck in a big dose of oxygen, and courageously take that first step into the hectic pace and reality of our own little world!

We attempt to waken sleepy children that won’t stir on a school day, but somehow manage to rise when the sun does on Saturday mornings! The dog does its’ little dance at the door as it impatiently waits to do its morning constitutional. The cat paces in front of his food dish, while the morning news blares from the radio with all its’ gloomy stories of the day. The coffee brews, and the neighbourhood awakes. There are lunches to be made, kids to get dressed, laundry to put in, garbage to take to the curb, kitty-litter boxes to change, carpools to coordinate, jobs to go to, after-school activities to juggle, supper to plan, last minute grocery shopping to do, and errands to run. We drag ourselves out the door while trying to remember the articles for the library, the rental DVDs, the science project we overlooked yesterday, backpacks, and lunches...

Now, what else was there? Oh yes...the kids. (Sigh)

Then, while the worship music in the background tries to set the tone for our workday, we drive the kids to school, give them a quick “peck and a prayer” to send them off, and head to work with the heart intent, not to mention firm resolve, to pray on the way! (Whew)

Millions of people juggle the onset of daily activities in similar ways. Some are driven to get on their knees at their bedside, while others quietly lie and talk to their Heavenly Father. Some gather around the breakfast table with their spouses and families for prayer and their morning devotionals. Others, will slowly amble their single, lonely, sleepy bodies to the kitchen to slurp their morning cup of java in one hand, while praying, and turning the pages of their Bible with the other. Others still, can be found talking to God while holding and bouncing a tiny toddler on one hip, swinging the other that is wrapped around their leg, and tossing flapjacks with the other free hand. Sadly, very still, some will be found sitting at the bedside of a lingering, loved one with their eyes closed and a head bowed in prayer.

Many of the great, powerful, men of faith, when we read their autobiographies, all state very strongly that they started their day in prayer and study - just minutes for some, and for others, hours. It was the season of life, and commitment that they personally chose to make.

There is no formula or right-or-wrong way, it is just about doing it! For some of us, this may mean getting up a few minutes or an hour earlier in the day, but how much better your day will go when He gets the first portion! In other words, starting your day with prayer is far too important to miss!

With a new baby, a husband who commutes at extremely early hours, or an aged parent that requires medical attention in the waking-up moments; it may not be possible for your schedule, to do it in the mornings. Find the time that works for you personally. Getting ready for the activities, and praying about your day, may have to begin the night before, and that is definitely okay, too!

In seeking the path of my own journey, I have found that what personally works for me is to start in the morning. Committing my day to Him and asking Him to guide my steps, makes for the best day possible. The days I forget to ask, or don’t pause long enough in my demanding schedule to pray first, will often turn into unproductive, and sometimes overly chaotic, days!

Let this be your new morning motto:
“We need to pause and pray, before we start our day!”

NEW HABIT TO DEVELOP: Start your day with prayer!

CHALLENGE: Start a “Prayer Diary”. You can do this as part of your notebook, or in a separate notebook that you can keep with your Bible. Write your requests down, and you won’t over look them. You can note the date received, the request, the date you saw a breakthrough, and those wonderful praise reports!

TIP! You could put your Bible, a pen, a notebook for your thoughts, and your new prayer diary in a pretty basket on your nightstand. It will be there last thing at night, and first thing in the morning! Everything at your fingertips! Or, perhaps, a better location for you would be on the end of the kitchen counter, where you can grab it as part of your morning routine. Some may even like to put on their bathroom vanity, where they get ready in the morning, so they can pray for specific things while putting on make-up! Remember to do what works for you!

START EARLIER, OR THE NIGHT BEFORE

During the “homeschooling” season of my life, another mom and I used to wake up before our household, and go to a coffee shop at the crack of dawn. While sleepy husbands worked the very early morning shift, and our pre-teen and teenage children slept, we were strategically getting ready for our day.

First, we would toss in a load of laundry at our respective homes. By the time we got back to our house, it would be ready to add to our dryers. Advocates of kitchen appliances, we would also have our automatic timers going for our bread machines the night before. The smell of fresh bread would be wafting up the staircase, and were timed to shut off almost when our husbands hit the kitchen in the morning. If it lasted through their breakfasts and lunch-making episodes, they would leave it on the cooling rack until we came downstairs, and we would put the remainder into a storage bag for later.

Next would be dinner! This was always an individual choice, but the crockpot/slowcooker was a wonderful tool for those busy days of classes and fieldtrips – and we used them often!

Having checked the menu plans the day before, and while I was preparing other meals for that particular day, I multitasked by cutting and preparing the extra vegetables ahead. They were already chopped, and were placed without liquid into the bottom of the crock - where it sat in the fridge overnight with the lid on. I simply needed to haul the crockpot out of the fridge and place it in its’ container, add the last-minute potatoes, the meat that was already marinating in a zip-lock bag overnight, (so it was ready to dump), and the appropriate amount of liquid. Setting a timer for later, and giving the crockery a chance to warm while we were gone, we embraced the motto that it was just like having a maid at suppertime! Voila! We would even have our meals plugged in and rolling before we left the house!

Since she had a few extra minutes to travel and went by the door, my friend would usually pick me up. We would do a quick catch-up of the latest news happenings, slurp our morning beverage, organize and synchronize our day planners, (for our own household, group homeschooling classes, and field trips), and “head for home”, which really meant my driveway. There, in the early morning quiet, we would pause for 10 or 15 minutes to commit our day, pray for each other, our families, and our homeschooling agendas. On days where several families joined together, and we hired tutors for certain subjects, we prayed for all of them, as well! By the time we had stepped in the door, our kids were ready to wake up, and we were ready for anything! Planning ahead the night before was a big part of making it all work!

Make starting your day earlier in the morning or the night before, part of your regular routine. Laying out clothes ahead, showering before bed, checking menu plans, thawing meat overnight, gathering items to drop off, loading the bread maker ingredients, gathering the laundry, and so forth, can all help the morning to run more smoothly! Along with committing your day to Him, it is a calming way to know what is expected and what must be achieved. It also saves you from those embarrassing moments like missed appointments, and late fees!

NEW HABIT TO DEVELOP: Start your day earlier in the morning, or start it night before.

CHALLENGE: Make a list of the things that you can routinely do the night before, which will help your day start running smoothly. Do the same with the morning activities. Add it to your household notebook/binder - implementing it as part of your “before bedtime” and “early morning” routines.

You may have observed that certain tasks may need to be added on certain days. Make the appropriate notes and if you desire, add it to your binders as separate listings on one page, or spread over multiple pages. Do what works for you! Remember, if you try something and it doesn’t work. Try it another way!

CHALLENGE: Set your alarm, if possible, for an earlier start than your family. Any time frame that benefits you will work. Five minutes? Fifteen minutes? An hour? Do what is best for you! See how this effects your outlook on your day!

And, don’t forget to pray!

1 comment:

Karen said...

Great post! Prayer is so important. With a 16 month old that at one point was waking up around 4:00-4:30am, I am usually almost always up pretty early. I am thankful that my 16 month old is now sleeping until around 7:00am usually. I typically try to say good morning to the Lord first thing. Then a little later in the morning I usually have time to just have quiet time with him: prayer, reading the Bible, Bible study, or just sitting quietly sipping my cup of coffee being still before God. It certainly makes a difference in my day when I do - that's for sure.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Karen