Prioritizing Daily Time With the Lord In Word & Prayer
Today (April 7, 2020) in our weekly Murray State BCM staff meeting, we were talking about how we were doing in the areas of diet, exercise, rest, stress, and time with the Lord. For the most part, we are all doing OK in these areas, but what captured the majority of our conversation was our daily, time with the Lord, in the Word, and Prayer. We are all still maintaining it, but with this new temporary normal, adjustments have to be made. We wondered, “If WE are struggling with these elements, are our students?” This is not a generalization, but if you are finding your time with the Lord non-existent, half-hearted, stale, stagnant, distracted, etc. let me offer you some words of practical encouragement.
Disclaimer: We do not practice spiritual disciplines in order to be made right with God…that is LEGALISM.
We practice spiritual disciplines because we have already been made right with God through Jesus Christ. We exercise discipline because of GRACE…as a response to who we are in Christ.
If you have been around the BCM for any period of time, you have heard me
emphasize the importance of the following four elements concerning posturing life in such away that would be glorifying the Lord, growth producing in you, and beneficial to others:
Daily Image Source
Time with the Lord
In the Word
These are the grassroots, basic disciplines for us as Christians to practice to actively abide in Christ. I believe without them, we will NOT be growing as the disciples God has intended us to be.
So, if you are struggling to recalibrate these disciplines, walk through the following process:
Ask yourself the following questions:
Question One: At what TIME of the day am I at my best mentally and least distracted:
For me, that is 5am…I am a morning person and my kids will usually sleep till 7am, so that gives me ample time to prayer journal, pray through my lists, read, study, and do my devotional reading. If I am going to spend significant time with the Lord when I am at my best mentally with the least amount of distractions, it has to be at that time. Is it always enjoyable to get up at 5am? Do I have to make some sacrifices and re-order some life choices? Sure!
For Erin, my wife, she is at her best and least distracted late at night. Both are fine!
Find when it is for you for each day!
Question Two: Where is a PLACE you can go to that is set aside for daily time with the Lord?
Maybe it is a separate room
Maybe it is a chair on the other side of your bed
Maybe it is in your car
Maybe it is outside on your back porch
Question Three: What are the ELEMENTS you will be incorporating during that time (plan)?
1. Time in the Word:
A Bible Study
A book study (like a Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary)
A reading plan
- And a journal to accompany that to use for meditation, prayer, memory, and application.
2. Time in prayer:
- 6 elements of the Lord’s Prayer
- Which could look like praying through Scripture, ministry concerns, the day ahead,
team members, etc.
- Try making a list of Monday-Sunday and under each day place the name of a friend
from your small group, a family member, lost friends, local church/ministries,
- I know how easy it is to ONLY pray for immediate needs, therefore those things that
are “out of sight, out of mind” won’t be neglected in our prayer lives.
Ephesians 6:18 gives us 5 calls to effective prayer: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
- In-Spirited prayer: “Praying in the Spirit”…means praying according the Word of God.
We won’t be effective pray-ers if we are not rooted first in the Word
- Continual Prayer: “on all occasions” consistently daily and with an awareness and
posture throughout the day.
- Varied prayer: “all kinds of prayers and requests”…not just a blanket, “Lord please
- Persistent prayer: “be alert and always keep on praying”…don’t stop praying for
needs and people to come to faith
- Intercessory prayer: “for all the saints”…pray for those on your team, those you are
serving with, how this summer ministry context will apply on your campus, church
3. Additional disciplines:
- Scripture memory
- Scripture meditation…another journaling exercise
- Supplemental reads
Formulating a plan is the easy part. We can plan out things all day. The more detailed and specific with less ambiguity the better!
Now for the hard part:
Exercising discipline to execute the plan. It is easy for us to respond in the flesh and not in the Spirit. It is easy for us to be Kings of good intention, but horrible at follow through.
- That is why we need discipline, resolve, and intentionality…because we can’t sit back
and coast along on lazy river expecting significant spiritual life-change to simply
- We posture our hearts and position our lives around certain practices that would
enable us to grow in our complete knowledge of the Lord.
That is why it is vital to have accountability. We will not be effective in ministry if we are not continually abiding in the Father, connected to the Vine.
That is why we need people around us to ask us those tough questions.
That is why we need to be those people around others to ask them those tough questions.
That is why we need, as a Christians, to commit NOW while we are still somewhat fresh and excited about the ministry season ahead to resolve to be men and women who abide in Christ daily, individually, and corporately as believers
- Because there will come a time in this pandemic journey that you will want to throw
in the towel, to stay on the inner-tube of lazy river and coast along spiritually lazy
- Jonathan Clark, Murray State BCM Campus Minister