So far I have encouraged you to have a plan for reading the Bible and a plan for reading good books. This week I would like to encourage you to have a plan for meditating on God’s Word and for being still before the Lord. Over the years, I have tried different formulations and combinations of these two things both separate and together. My most enjoyable and meaningful experiences have all happened when I do both of these in the morning. Really this and the last two posts are my morning routine. I would love to say that this routine is an every day occurrence, but I still struggle with a deep affection for sleep.
When I am most fulfilled in my daily walk it is always because I spent a considerable amount of time in the morning just savoring time with Jesus. My morning routine looks something like this:
- Wake up at least 2 hours before I need to leave the house or start my day.
- Do not touch my phone at all, but leave it on my nightstand exactly where I put it the previous night.
- Make a cup of coffee and grab a cereal bar.
- I then settle into my chair with my Bible, books, and tablet.
- First: I start off reading the daily portions of the Bible for that day. I end this time with a couple of minutes to think through what I read and just review it in my head.
- Second: I read a chapter in a commentary I am working through. I end this time with another couple of minutes to reflect on what I just read.
- Third: I turn on my tablet and open up OneNote to get to my journal. I spend as much time as I need to journal out my thoughts. I treat this as a time of prayer. I am conversing with the Lord, but just typing it into a journal instead of speaking it out loud or in my mind. It involves a mixture of the following:
- Thoughts and insights from the Bible and the commentary and how it should/can impact my life and worldview.
- Review of the previous day highlighting both the struggles and the encouragements.
- Work through any sin or recurring issues that need attention in my life.
- Give praise to the Lord for who He is and what he continues to do in my life.
- Fourth: Before I close out the journal, I scan and review the week worth of journal entries. I find it interesting to see how the Lord is already working in my struggles and anxieties.
- Fifth: I close out OneNote, turn off the tablet, and I just relax and be quiet. Sometimes this takes 2 minutes, sometimes it lasts 10 minutes. Really just depends on how my mind is processing. I enjoy just taking some time to really soak in all that I have read and processed that morning.
- At this point, I am usually right at an hour into my routine. So typically I give myself another 30 minutes to read a book I am working through, but that really depends on my schedule and need to leave the house.
So that is my routine for meditating and being still before the Lord. Not complicated and not intense. Really just me being intentional and available to be still and be quiet. This formula has several advantages, but one that I am thankful for is the continual documentation of how the Lord is moving in my life. It is always interesting to scan back through the years and see how God worked in a particular point in my life. When I am in a difficult time of life, it is helpful to reflect back on an earlier similar period of life. This gives me first-hand insight into the struggle. It is always good to get advice from others and read their story, but it is a great help to actually read and remember how I struggled with it in the past and remember how God was faithful to provide.
I would encourage you to design a plan that works best for you. The key is to just be consistent with whatever you choose and give yourself time to get in the Bible and process through what it is saying. If you have never done this before or have not been successful in the past, start small. Give yourself 15 minutes. This is enough time to read a chapter and then think and pray through what you read. Your life will be richly rewarded for the effort and your intimacy with God will continue to increase as you become more consistent and intentional.