My favorite part of the day is the morning. I love the morning because I feel most productive during that time. I am the type of person who always has a “to do” list either in my head or on paper. Most of my life I would start my day with that “to do” list, but I never felt satisfied whenever I completed that list. It wasn’t until last November that I knew why… I was forgetting a VERY important item on that list. That item was God.
I was so caught up in myself, that I did not take the time to praise and to talk to God each morning. I would put my agenda before His and now looking back, all that “stuff” made me feel empty. My prayer relationship with God was reactive instead of proactive. I promised you from the day 1 of starting my blog that I would share with you my favorite things, so I want to share with you what I do the first 20 minutes of the day. The following devotionals have completely changed my life and my morning priorities. I encourage all of you not click on the next site or close out of this post because these books can change your life.
1st book: New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp
[Click picture to purchase book]
I was given the book New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp from a mentor of mine right before the holidays. This book has a one page devotional each day with scripture to read at the end. She encouraged us not to ever skip over the scripture part. (To be completely transparent, I probably would have if she didn’t say that). So I began my daily routine of reading this book every morning – before I got on social media, before I exercised, before I went to work… really before anything. It was a rough start at first, I would miss a few days here and there, but I started to realize the difference in my days where I would spend time with God versus the days I would put my list first. I liked this book because it wasn’t overwhelming, but it wasn’t just another motivational book that pulled out random versus from the Bible. This book directed all its devotionals to God’s Word. I have never been so consistent with a book in my entire life. It has changed my perspective and my priorities.
[Click picture to purchase book]
This 70 day devotional taught me how to pray, and I mean pray pray. I discovered this book through a friend who knew someone who had just finished this with her girlfriends. My friend and I both chose the word HOPE for our “word of the year” to focus on. We both knew that we were meant to read this book together. The book is set up with daily devotionals with scripture following by a section where you write out your prayers. Instead of starting from scratch when writing out your prayers, Beth would give you the PRAISE template. PRAISE meant the following:
- Praise: Praise God for who He is, and make it sincere!
- Repentance: Confess to God of your convictions. This part of the prayer held me accountable to making sure I did something about my convictions. If I noticed I would put the same thing every day – I needed to do something different in my life. Remember, God always forgives and washes our heart and make it clean with no strings attached.
- Acknowledgement: DELIBERATELY submit yourself to the Lord. He is king and surrender everything to him in this section. Don’t skip past this section!!
- Intercession: Pray for others!!
- Supplication for self: Enter in a time of prayer for yourself. Notice how this is the last thing. I noticed as I went through the first three parts, my prayer for self changed, but it didn’t diminish. Beth did a great job emphasizing the importance of praying for yourself. So many people condone this and say it’s selfish, but our God wants us to come to us when we need help and prayer.
- Equipping: This steps asks God for help to grow in our capacity to serve God.
When I first started this devotional and things got busy, I would just say in my head the “PRAISE” method and instead of writing it. (I thought I was being “efficient” haha) I then looked at my motives. I wanted to say it in my head because it was convenient and I could get more things done in the day. That completely goes against the whole point of a prayer. Prayer should be a time where it’s just you and God and everything else has to wait. This was probably the hardest thing for me to do because I am such a “type A” person. I had my schedule and I had to stick to it. Over the course of 70 days I realized work can wait, my workout can wait, Instagram can wait, even my husband can wait. My first 20 was reserved with the most loving, gracious, and powerful man, Jesus. Even though I finished this 70 day devotional, I knew I shouldn’t stop writing out my prayers with the PRAISE method. Even if it’s a few words for each letter, God is listening and God is always transforming. I still write out my prayers each morning to this day.
I hope that not only do you click on these links and buy these books today, but you actually take the time out of your day to read them. For me the first 20 minutes in the morning worked best, some of you it may be right before you go to bed. BUT I do challenge you to pick a time where you will put both of your eyes on him. I also encourage you to not base this time on solely what fits your schedule the most (because that’s the whole point of this). There will be days that you will miss, and that is OK. It is a marathon, not a race. Pace yourself. When you feel overwhelmed, just remind yourself that God comes before all things and those praying with him will calm all of those problems that are on your agenda. I have learned so much with these books. They have equipped me with habits that I will carry into each day and many more years. They have gotten me through the most challenging days where I felt alone and hopeless.
So I am going to end with this:
What is your first 20 going to look like tomorrow?
You are fearfully and wonderfully made,