There are many oppositions to our prayer life and morning devotion time in God's Word.. Satan knows how important this time is for us! He knows we need this time. He knows our children need for us to have this time. He knows our husbands need for us to have this time. He seems to throw anything and everything in our path so we won't have victory! And yet, I feel there is a great opposition that we face that we could fix ourselves! What is this great opposition to our morning devotions?
What we do with those precious minutes before we lay our head on the pillow really does have a big impact on how our following day will go. I'm finding that there are a few things that if I don't do the night before, I seem to struggle the next morning....I'm tired. I hit the snooze. I'm distracted when I pray. I rush through a quick pray and read a verse, so I can hurry and take care of things that should have been taken care of the night before. Then....I'm grumpy because my day didn't start out right.
So, what are these things?
Bedtime Routine with my Quiet Time in Mind:
~Practice the "Head to Bed" philosophy. I read a book by Elizabeth George where she talks about this. Throughout the evening she is working towards heading to bed. I know it sounds silly, because if you're like me, most of my time in the evenings is when I have quality time with my family. But, after that time with our family is done, don't stay up too late. We find much to distract us and entertain us when it's late. We call it "winding down" or "vegging out." Now, I'm all for vegging every so often, but if we stay up for an extra hour (or hours) to waste time, what we are really doing is wasting our time with the Lord in the morning. We end up being too tired to try and get up to have a quiet time. So, head to bed at a decent hour. It will be easier in the morning!
~Limit Screen Time. I know this is talked about a lot lately. It needs to be. Think about how much time we look at any sort of "screen." Phone, tablet, Laptop. Our brains don't relax and just be. We end up on information overload. We head to bed and think about everything happening in everyone else's lives on facebook. We lay awake thinking about the 20 pins we just pinned on Pinterest and we mentally buy all the supplies for the next project. I find that if I end the day this way I don't rest well. And I wake up still thinking about everything I want to do, should do, wish to do....My mind then has a hard time concentrating on my time with the Lord. I spend 15 minutes thinking that I was praying only to realize I just reorganized my house, picked the perfect shade of color for my hair, and did the coolest craft with my kids....all in my head! It's hard to concentrate! But, I find that if I limit my screen time in the evenings (it's better to spend that time with my family anyway!) that in the morning my mind is ready to concentrate on what the Lord wants to teach me for the day.
~5 Minute House Rescue. My kids love this! Or maybe not. But, if I take the 5 minutes before I head to bed (and teach my children to do the same) and pick up anything out of place, I wake up to a much nicer environment to focus on the Lord. It's amazing what 5 minutes can do! For me, I look for dishes left out, coats to be hung, anything on the table.....the things that will be most visible to me. But, if I fail to do this, I sit down to pray and see a room that needs my attention, I end up rushing through my quiet time so I could hurry and get to other needs. I know when it is finally bedtime that we're tired. But, take 5 minutes. It really does make a difference!
~Get Devotional materials ready and laid out in your special spot. For me, I tiptoe around trying not to wake my little ones, so I can have some (or any) quiet time alone with the Lord. That may be 15 minutes. Or maybe 35. But, I find that if I don't know where I put my Bible, my notebook and journal must be found, and I have to dig for a pen out of my purse, that it wastes precious minutes. And it wakes up my light sleepers! If I have everything laid out and ready, it's so much easier. (I've also gotten to where I tell my kiddos that unless the little hand is on the 7, they can't get up. So, that gives me extra time!) I also love to have the coffee pot ready! I love the smell of coffee brewing when I wake up!
Now, if I make sure to keep my bedtime routine in order, then my Quiet Time alone with the Lord will be perfect, right? I'll have lots of energy, my kids will sleep while I read a whole chapter? And my house will be spotless?....Well, not exactly. Things don't always work out like we have planned and hoped. But, I have found that the more I am careful about what I do the night before, the more time I usually have with the Lord in the morning. There will be bumps. There will be babies that wake up too early and alarm clocks that don't go off. Those are days for devotions with the babies, or moving our schedules back an hour. I need to be flexible, but I also want to make sure I am doing everything that I need to to make my Quiet Times with the Lord Jesus happen. The Lord blesses those efforts and desires of our time with Him! And it's so worth it!