Shortly after I became a Christian, I jumped into the deep end! While going through Christianity 101 (a previous form of GrowthTrack), I learned that one of my spiritual gifts was intercession—praying for others. What?!? In my previous church experience, prayer was something the minister did for us on Sunday, so I was a little hesitant.
I signed up to attend a prayer seminar with a friend, and wow, were my eyes opened! We did an activity that sticks with me to this day because it was so painful. We were given a piece of paper. On one side of the page, we were instructed to write down all the things we did in a day in the order of their importance. On the other side, we were instructed to write down how much time we spent on each item during the day. Ouch!
While I said that God was the most important thing to me, I was not giving him the first part of my day in prayer. That time went to exercise! Whatever time I had after exercising was what I gave to God—he was getting leftovers! I decided to reverse that. I learned to schedule God into my calendar so that the time slot I devoted to him appeared busy, just in case another opportunity for that hour came up. I began to wake up three hours before I had to be anywhere so that I could spend time with God first, exercise second, and then prepare for the rest of my day.
I thank God almost every day that I am a morning person! I’ve even come to thank him that my husband is not, because I can guarantee 3+ hours by myself to sit with God and then allow his word to soak into me during my walking or biking exercise. This means that almost every night, I am in bed by 10 p.m. I love the morning time I spend with Jesus more than the (predictable) end of a movie!
I know—not everyone is a morning person. (Sorry!) But I thank God for this discipline in my life. He has blessed me over and over as I have put him first. As Gateway Church Pastor Robert Morris says, “When I give God the first part of my day, there is a notable difference in the rest of my day.” God gave his best, Jesus, for us before we had done anything to deserve it (as if we ever could). Never forget that!
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
It takes faith to give our first: Faith that God will give you the energy to make it through your day with less sleep. Faith that when you offer your money as a tithe, he will bless the rest. Faith that when you put God first in your work, he will bless your efforts. Faith that his blessings will come in his way and in his time. As Lead Pastor Ben Snyder said, “The first gift we can give him in return (for what he has given us) is our trust.”
What would it cost you to start your days with Jesus, to put him first? Will you commit to waking up with Jesus by setting your alarm five minutes earlier than normal and gradually increase your time over the next month or year? Or could you end your day five minutes earlier with the same purpose?
Is your trust in God or something else?
On one side of a sheet of paper, create a column and order your daily activities from the most to the least important. On the other side, write down how much time you spend on each. Figure out how you can adjust your schedule to make the most important things a priority. Remember, what you do first matters.
Join Ben every morning at 7:30 for prayer as we continue our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting..
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21 Days of Prayer:
Day 11 Focus – To Love Fearlessly (1 John 4:18-19)
Dear God, thank you for being a God of perfect love. Thank you for loving me first—before I accepted your salvation, before I even knew you, while I was still living in sin. Teach me to love as you love, without fear, without condemnation. Help me to offer grace to those around me, just as you first offered grace to me.
This post was written by Lauri White. Lauri is one of the 25 people that God used to start CedarCreek in the Fall of 1995, and was on staff until 2013. Lauri loves Jesus, and loves helping people, especially women, live out of the truth about who we are in Christ. She and her husband Mike live in Oregon, but now spend winter months in Florida near daughter Kelda and her family.
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