April 10, 2012

Ten Minutes

Easter weekend is, for a lot of people, a time for new beginnings. That’s part of the message of Easter, isn’t it? When Jesus paid for our sins, when we accept Him as Savior, we get a new beginning.

I love Easter. Easter is the anniversary of my baptism. Baptism doesn’t save you or have supernatural powers, but is first step of obedience as a Christ-follower. Every day is just another step.

Recently I’ve had several conversations with women about those day-to-day steps. And I’m far from perfect, but the only way I’ve been able to get through the day-to-day stuff is having a daily discipline of personal devotional time.

Well, that’s not entirely accurate. I’ve “gotten through” a lot of days, weeks and months without it. But if I want to do more than just “get through” them, and actually get something out of them, having that personal devotional time is essential.

For a long time I was, for lack of a better term, turned off to the whole idea. My high school and college ministers made big deals about how you had to do personal devotions in the morning if they were going to “really count.” You had to get up super early and do XYZ and THEN get on with the rest of your day. If you tried to do it at night instead, well, no one was going to say you were being lazy, but it just wasn’t as spiritual somehow. Oh, and you had to read the entire Bible through in a year. You just did.

And as you know, I am in no way a morning person. Especially in school, those few hours of sleep you get are precious. And I’ve tried several of those “read the Bible in a year” plans. We’ve had this conversation. It lasts about a week and then I get behind, then bogged down, then frustrated and I quit.

So, it’s been one long cycle of beginnings and endings, beginnings and endings.

That’s life, I guess.

But I’ve been doing much better this year. I’m 100% sure it’s because I finally found a daily Bible reading plan that fits me. Also, I’ve taken the pressure off myself to do “quiet time” (like they call it in youth group) at a certain time, in a certain way. I get up when I get up, I make my coffee, give the dogs their pills and put them outside, then I settle in and have my time. Sometimes it’s 10 minutes, sometimes it’s 20. Just depends.

And it’s made all the difference in the world.

I never really believed it when people would tell me that, if they spent the morning with God, somehow there were more hours in the day. But I’m here to tell you, it’s the truth. For example, last week, the dogs had me up, literally, all night long. I was sure I was going to be a zombie all day. But, I got out of bed (in the morning), followed my routine – coffee, puppy meds, quiet time. And as I prayed, I asked God to give me the energy and wherewithal to get the house in shape for the weekend, because all I wanted to do was lay on the couch. And, it’s not like I got zapped by lightning or anything, but I was seriously the energizer bunny all day. Yes, coffee helps, but this was beyond my regular caffeine buzz. I’m 100% convinced it was because I had done my devotional that morning and asked God for help. It was supernatural.

In addition to the Bible reading, I’m also doing these devotional books

downloads

They were given to me by a dear friend when I got engaged, way back when, and I’ve picked them up from time to time since then. Each book has 30 chapters, one for each day of the average month. Each chapter covers a different topic, with a short devotional read, some relevant Bible verses, and a model prayer for that day. Each chapter is usually 3-5 pages long, and only takes a few minutes to read.

Power of a Praying Woman teaches you how to pray for yourself using Scripture and examples from the Bible. Areas such as your personal thought life, finding purpose, forgiving others and battling negative emotions are each an entry. I’d never really used this book before, I jumped straight to the other one. But now that I am going through it, I have felt refreshed and more motivated to be consistent with my personal daily devotions than ever.

Power of a Praying Wife is about praying over your husband. Over his work, his mind, his priorities, his attitude, his obedience and a host of other areas. It’s the same format as the other book: a devotional, a model prayer and Bible verses. I know for a fact that when I can consistent in praying over SoldierMan, it makes a difference in his life and in our marriage.

Now, the concept of praying a prayer from a book may be a little weird to some of you. It was to me. I wasn’t raised in a religion with a set book of prayers, for the reason that prayer is a personal conversation with God. And you don’t have '”rehearsed” conversations with your family and friends on earth. They just happen, right? And our conversations with God should be just as organic.

However, I do think that, as models of prayer filled with Scripture, they are good examples. It’s nice to learn how to pray for myself and my husband in a really practical, specific way. Omartian also has a book for parents and one for husbands.

Wow, this turned out a lot longer than I thought it would. Anyway, if you haven’t started a daily devotional routine, there’s no time like the present. And if you do, what do you do?

2 comments:

  1. I really like this post - I think it's so easy to get caught up in the "worldy" ways that we deal with life and we often forget that the Godly ways are so much more effective.

    Thanks for the reminder!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I really enjoyed reading this post - and I think I might go get those two books. Thanks for sharing :)

    ReplyDelete

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