In all my years of church attendance, I've never been part of a church family like the one I'm in right now. I've never had a pastor like the one I have now, and I am so thankful for this. More than any other person has ever told me this, he shares with us all the time how vital it is to pray and read the word of God if you want to hear from God. I agree with him wholeheartedly on this, and will also add how life changing it is, when this becomes part of your daily routine. I may skimp on other things on my "list" of things to do from day to day, but I almost never miss having quiet time with the Lord.
Having this time at ANY time of day is better than not having this time at all, but I think mornings are best for this. It's quieter in most homes in the early hours, and the hustle and bustle of the day hasn't yet begun. But to do this early in the morning, you need to prepare the night before, by going to bed at a decent hour so you can get up. If you struggle with this, pray and ask the Lord to help you in doing this each day. He will help you, I promise.
What my time with Jesus looks like each day may differ a bit, but here's what I do most mornings. I pray first. I always pray before I read the bible, because a lot of times, I have to ask for wisdom as I read. I begin my prayer time with praising God for who He is. He is Savior, Redeemer, Comforter, Prince of Peace, Almighty, never changing, friend, King of Kings, my rock, my strength, the song I sing. This isn't a time to thank Him, but to give Him the praise He alone is worthy of. Next, I ask Him to show to me any sin in my life that I need to repent of. He is always faithful to show me something. I thank Him after this, for all He has done, then I pray for others.
I always sit down to read with my bible, a journal, and a pen, and I always have a plan to go by. I know of people who can just open up and begin to read, but for me, I need a plan to follow for accountability. Right now, I'm reading along with my church family in the book of Revelation, and because that is so deep and sometimes hard to understand, I am also reading along in an Advent plan that goes back and forth from the old testament to the new. Sometimes I write out scripture, but I'm not doing that right now.
There is no "right" or exact formula for this, the point is just to start. I "hear" from the Lord every single time I open my bible to read. He speaks through His word, and I always ask Him for ears to hear. The more I read, the more saturated in His word I become, and that is what I want: for it to flow out of my heart, my mind, my mouth. The more I read, the more I know Him, and the more He shows me. I may be going through a little time of sadness or loneliness, and I'll pick up my bible and read that He satisfies the thirsty. (I read that once in such a time, somewhere in the book of Jeremiah.)
We're all busy in life, let's admit that, but let's not be so busy that we neglect time with the Lord each day. I will put a lot of things off, but my quiet time isn't one of them and neither is attending church services. It's so important to sit under godly preaching each week, and it's uplifting and faith building to be around other believers. If you don't have a church home, consider finding one, and be faithful in attendance. You'll never regret that decision. Going to church services faithfully also gives you the added benefit of friends, which is where all of my friends came from. Here's the thing about attending church services: the enemy makes it so easy for us to miss. Once you miss a week, it gets easier each week after. This was never a suggestion in our home, as we raised our sons, but a requirement. We even go when we don't feel great, because we can either be miserable at home, or we can be miserable at church, and when we go, we don't stay miserable for long. (We do stay home if we have fever or something contagious, but that's very rare.)
Don't let a church service be the only time you spend with God each week, though. The personal relationship I have with the Lord really grows when I spend time alone with Him, much like it would if this were a relationship with my best friend. I have gotten to know her by spending quality time with her, and my relationship with the Lord is the same.
This time of year is a great time to start something new like this. If you're local to me and need a church to call home, come and visit mine. I attend Collierville First Baptist. If you're not local, ask some friends about where they go and join them. Don't neglect these things: prayer, reading the bible, attending church services. Make them a priority, and you will see a huge difference in your life. Don't take my word for it, try it for yourself.
I pray this encourages someone today. Love to all.
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