As believers in Jesus we know that we need to spend time with the Lord. To connect with God daily changes us. Communing with God creates the space we need to experience renewal in our hearts. But daily devotions or a quiet time with the Lord can be so elusive! Even if we know it is important we can lose focus and allow the busyness of life to draw us away. Read below for three reasons to connect with God daily – and in the morning! A commitment to spending daily time with the Lord will change your life!
1. To Prioritize the Lord
Give God your firstfruits
In the Bible, “firstfruits” represents the idea of giving our first and our best to God. This act of sacrificial giving to the Lord reminds us that the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it (Psalm 24). He owns it all (Psalm 50:10) and so we give back to him to acknowledge His sovereignty and our stewardship over his creation.
Likewise, in connecting with God daily, we want to offer the firstfruits of our time and energy. Seeking the Lord first things makes the Lord your first priority for the day and in your life. Don’t let the worries of life or your responsibilities crowd out your time with the Lord. The important things in life often get overlooked by urgent or pressing demands. Author Charles Hummel called this “The Tyranny of the Urgent” and wrote a short pamphlet and a book on the topic.
Jesus, Our Example
The gospel writers reveal that Jesus would rise early in the morning to pray. Our Lord knew the importance of connecting with the Father. He ran to the Father, removed distractions, and resolved to listen and obey. How much more do we need to do the same!
Inspiration from the Psalms to Connect with God Early
Read also from Psalm 63 – earnestly the psalmist sought after God. He pursued God early – with a longing heart. The world looks different when you start the day beholding the glory of God! Worship will set you on the right path for the day. Your soul will find rest and be satisfied in him – as with the richest of foods (a.k.a marrow and fatness). Feast on the Lord’s goodness as the psalmist did and enjoy a thankful and content heart overflowing with worship and gratitude.
O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips. Psalm 63 (NKJV)
2. To Focus on the Lord
Start the Day and Connect with God
The Bible calls us to live lives connected to the Lord. Paul challenged us to pray continually (I Thessalonians 5:17) and to walk by the Spirit. John wrote to abide in Christ in John 15.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.John 15:4-5
Brother Lawrence, a 17th century monk, wrote a book addressing the concept – but he called it “Practicing the Presence of God”. The idea hearkens back to the garden of Eden where God walked with Adam in the cool of the day. God desires constant fellowship with his children – let’s start from our first waking moments to pray and abide in Christ. From that initial connection with the Lord, walk through the day with an attitude of prayer. To abide in Christ is to pray continually and keep in step with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus, Our Example
Jesus understood this principle of connecting early and modeled for us how to focus on the Father. Early he would pray to his Father. Jesus always knew who he was because he stayed connected to the Father. This kept him focused on doing his Father’s will while on earth. He spent extra time with God to receive direction for big decisions – such as choosing the twelve disciples. But his entire life was devoted to doing and fulfilling God’s will for his life. Jesus’ devotion to the Father meant not acting on his own accord but living surrendered to God’s will.
Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewiseJohn 5:19
Jesus, Handling Interruptions
In Matthew 14, news that John the Baptist was beheaded reached Jesus. Verse 13 shows his reaction to the news: he desired to withdraw and pray.
When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns.Matthew 14:13
Interestingly, the crowds of people had other plans. They followed Jesus. Wanting to get away after the difficult news of John the Baptist’s untimely death, Jesus still operates with compassion toward the crowds. He heals the sick and ends up miraculously feeding them that day.
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.Matthew 14:22-23
Nevertheless, Jesus’ time in prayer was still important to him. After another day of ministry, he takes decisive action. Once his ministry time drew to a close, he immediately sent the disciples off and found a solitary place to pray and reconnect with the Father. Jesus wasn’t legalistic about his time with the Father; in this situation he made time for people and showed love even when his plans were interrupted. But he also took intentional steps to ensure he spent time with the Father.
Set the Tone for the Day
To summarize the second point, when we focus on the Lord first, we set the tone for our entire day. Since we are called to walk with the Spirit, abide in Christ, and pray continually, when should we start? First thing in the morning! Let the first words of your mouth every day be a praise unto God. But also let your first activity of the day to be to sit down and set your focus on the Lord.
3. To Grow in the Lord
Commit to growing in your faith
Finally, we prioritize our relationship with the Lord and focus on him so we will continue to grow in the Lord. To connect with God daily shows our commitment to spiritual growth. To become more like Jesus we need to spend time with him. Knowing God’s will for our lives comes from spending time in his presence. To know the Bible’s requirements for serving God, we have to spend time reading it!
Commit today to start afresh in your walk with the Lord. Don’t get discouraged if you feel like a failure when you miss a day or get distracted while praying. Start small. Focus on the relationship with God. Avoid a religious spirit that condemns short-comings. If you miss a day, just start over the next day. Don’t condemn yourself or get discouraged. If you realize you missed your devotions later in the day, just stop for a moment and reconnect with the Lord with a simple prayer. God knows your heart and he loves you.
For more help with keys to a successful quiet time with the Lord, read the next article in this series titled Keys to Spending Time with God! Put these principles into practice and you will be on your way to growing in Christ every day!