Every morning my heart is like an untuned guitar. It doesn’t matter if it was perfectly tuned just the night before.
I always need Jesus to tune my heart every morning and fill it with transcendent melodies which will usher me into the day as a man who no longer lives but in whom Christ now lives.
I am growing to experience the huge impact Jesus is having on my life through my increasingly regular time with him every morning. I want you to know the great help Jesus stands ready to give you every morning. He is the one who said each day has enough worries of its own and told us not to worry about tomorrow (Matt. 6:34). He knows that each day, if we would only focus on Him and receive of his fullness and strength, we would know great help.
In the previous post, I pointed out some strategies the devil will deploy to destroy you by keeping you from knowing life in Jesus and also ways in which you yourself, can sabotage even the best intentions or desires to meet with Jesus every morning.
In this post I will share the means through which The Holy Spirit has really helped me enjoy regular, intimate morning times with Jesus.
Reading The Bible
I firmly believe it is absolutely necessary to read the Bible everyday as a Christian. Why not? Why can’t I commit even 10 minutes out of a 24 hour day, to read God’s word? Scrolling on social media probably takes a lot more that 10 minutes everyday and it is so ridiculous that I would rather do that than listen to the True and Living God speak words of life to me through his word.
Do you read the bible everyday? If not, it’s probably one of three things: 1. You do not desire to do so 2. You are not disciplined. 3. You have no plan to guide you.
All three reasons, suggest deep issues in your heart. You aren’t sensitive to your need for God to speak his truth into your life and change you through his word. You don’t desire to hear what he wants to say through his word and have become okay with not desiring to read his word. You don’t see the importance and the magnitude of what’s at stake here. Or, you know the vital importance of it and desire to do it, but fail to do it.
If this cuts you to the heart, what must you do?
First things first, Jesus knows exactly what’s going on in your heart. He sees your lack of desire; he sees your negligence. Speak to him about it. Ask him to fill your heart with a hunger for his word. Ask him to help you read it and be transformed by it.
Don’t pray about this once and carry on. Please keep praying for him to do this; wait on him. Persist in seeking this heart transformation. The Holy Spirit is the one who works in us a desire for Jesus and empowers us to live out this desire through obedience. You will never love Jesus and walk with Him without the Holy Spirit enabling you. Pray for his help and don’t stop asking.
Next, begin to read daily, immediately. Don’t wait till you feel some sort of hunger before you start. I have learnt that in the doing, Jesus meets us and works the transformation we are asking for. Remember how Jesus tells the church in Ephesus that they had forgotten their first love? He tells them to repent and do the things they did at first (Revelation 2:5).
Do. Begin to read your Bible everyday. Do you have a plan to guide you?
I remember a season of my life when I would just wake up, say a prayer and flip the pages of my Bible to an ‘anonymous’ page and read it, believing that for that page to be open before me, it must have been divinely orchestrated. Please don’t even think of doing this.
We need structure. We need accountability. Get a bible plan! I’m not talking about devotionals (Not that I discourage using them), I’m talking about reading the actual word of God, asking and trusting The Holy Spirit to speak to you.
Right now, thankfully my church leadership has made this provision for all its members. We call it Reading the Bible Together (RBT). Every month, we read a book or set of books of the Bible, divided into chapters for each day. At the end of the month, through the structure of some specific questions, we meet in groups and share how God has spoken to us.
I consider this the most ideal scenario because personal Bible reading is fostered but also, having all other members also reading the same thing at the same time means that we all get to walk the same in the truths God is speaking, encouraging, exhorting and correcting each other.
Your church may not have an arrangement like this in place. My previous church (sound and wonderful as it was) did not have a daily bible reading plan for its members. I had to be serious about it and care enough to find a great plan I could use.
I highly recommend the Bible plan I used before I relocated and rejoined my current church. It is a plan designed by The Bible Project and guides you through a reading of the entire Bible in a year and praying through the entire book of the Psalms 2.5 times in the same year. Imagine how God can use this to transform your life! If you don’t have a bible study plan, please go and download it now and begin even today!
Having a plan helps you avoid indecisiveness and helps you read more regularly, keeping track of how God is speaking to you. If you are faithful in keeping to it, it will also ensure that you read every part of the Bible and see how it all points to Jesus and how all of it is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That you may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (2 Timothy 3: 16-17).
Singing Biblical Truths
I am already brimming with excitement just thinking of the many things I could say about what a great and wonderful blessing singing is and how it can be a great help during your time with Jesus in the morning.
Whether you have a ‘good voice’ or not, should not even come into the conversation. Sing!
Do you sing privately? I do. I do even before I pray (not suggesting that this is how you should do it, but just sharing my way of doing things). I sing songs which are written to praise God and marvel at His greatness, majesty and love. Songs that immediately channel my thoughts far above to behold the King and bow at his feet in awe, adoration and worship! Here are a few lines from some of my current favourites:
The Steadfast Love of the Lord never ceases,
His mercies never come to an end;
They are new every morning, new every morning;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Oh Lord!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
All praise to Him whose pow’r impartsAll Praise to Him
The love of God within our hearts
The Spirit of all truth and peace
The fount of joy and holiness
To Father, Son, and Spirit now
Our souls we lift, our wills we bow
To You, the triune God, we raise
With loving hearts our song of praise
As morning dawns and day awakes,A Christian’s Daily Prayer
To You I bring my need
O gracious God, my source of strength,
In You I live and breathe
Each hour is Yours by wisdom planned,
Each deed empowered by sovereign hands
Renew my spirit, help me stand;
Be glorified today
Magnificent, marvellous, matchless love; too vast and astounding to tellMagnificent, Marvellous, Matchless Love
Forever existing in worlds above, now offered and given to all.
Oh, fountain of beauty eternal; the Father, the Spirit, the Son.
Sufficient and endlessly generous, magnificent, marvellous, matchless love.
There are many more sound Christ-exalting songs I’d love to share, which can help you delight in the Majesty of God The Father, fix your eyes on Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I am happy to share my songs playlist on which you will find great suggestions.
Sing enduring truths which will preach Jesus to you every morning. I am certain that this can be a massive means of grace for you.
There are far too many wonderful books on Prayer with sound doctrine and practical knowledge to help you think rightly about prayer, understand it’s huge importance and ways in which you should or could pray. I best not get into that here.
What I hope to do is show how spending time with Jesus in the morning cannot be devoid of prayer. Speaking to him and totally surrendering every thought, concern, worry, request while reflecting on his goodness and thanking him for the many blessings he has granted.
I begin my morning prayers with a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. I say it slowly and reflectively, pausing to let the gravity of the words register in my heart. Immediately after, I pray, taking on the structure of the Lord’s prayer in a much fuller, specific-mention sort of way. Let me try and describe it.
I begin by speaking to God about the things about Him I know to be true and how amazed I am that such things are true of Him. For example, how a God so powerful like Him, fully sufficient in himself, needing nothing would yet love a death-deserving sinner like me and take on human flesh to suffer condescension and suffering to save me. I marvel at how He is the fountain of life from which every single atom in the universe derives life and meaning. Many paths to possibly go down here. I find that the Holy Spirit expands my mind such that at the time of praying, even I am surprised and exhorted by what I pray. It is a wonderful experience and I often want to spend all my time in prayer just marvelling at the greatness of God and the beauty of His person.
Next, I would usually thank Jesus for his finished work on the Cross, bearing the full cup of God’s wrath to conquer sin, death and the grave, buying my pardon and so wondrously lavishing grace on me which I don’t deserve, cleansing me of all my guilt and shame, adopting me as a co-heir, a child of the Living God!! Wow. I thank him for the perfect life He lived and the truth that His righteousness has been inputted to me. Again, many paths to go down here.
Somewhere around this point, I would thank God for the many ways in which he helped me the previous day. It could be concerning issues for which I had prayed or was worried about in which He had granted resolutions and peace, or seemingly normal things such as being able to breathe the air he provided through the lungs he designed and has sustained or being able to serve by cooking a meal which was enjoyed. Again many possible paths to go down here.
Somewhere at this point, I thank God for blessing me with the church – brothers and sisters running the race alongside me, encouraging, teaching, rebuking, correcting and holding me accountable. I pray that His name be honoured and hallowed amongst us. I pray for his Kingdom to be the first thing we seek and that our hearts will truly desire for things to be on earth as they are in Heaven, where God’s commands are honoured without compromise and the beauty of his person fills everything in his presence with great life, joy and glory!
I go on to ask for God’s provision of grace and mercies needed for the day, knowing I am nothing without Him and in desperate need for his sovereign hands to sustain me and empower my every deed and effort.
I ask his for his forgiveness, many times confessing my hardness of heart and disobedience which comes to mind from the previous day. I thank Him for the blood of Jesus which has paid for my sins once for all, ask for grace to live a life of victory over sin, radical obedience, watchfulness etc. I plead with him to help me forgive especially in the light of his forgiveness. I usually ask him for help in cleansing my heart of bitterness and stubbornness when it comes to letting things go or being easily offended.
I would usually break off into specific prayer requests at this point. For myself, that my thoughts will be taken captive and subjected to the Lordship of Jesus, that I would be renewed in the spirit of my mind, that I would be like Jesus and the fruit of the Spirit will be evident right here in my home in my marriage. That my heart will be willing to have my day disrupted and reorganised as God wills for me to serve.
I pray for my wife, my parents, sisters, cousins, some friends, members of my church whose prayer concerns are known to me, my pastor, the church staff, non believers in my life, etc…
I commit the day’s plans to God and ask for his help and wisdom to live as unto him, with diligence and earnestness. I usually ask that He makes me like Daniel. I love Daniel; how he was constantly reliant on God, humble, uncompromising in speaking to God, watching his life and doctrine closely and radically obedient to God at all costs.
So there you have it. This is what my prayers look like every morning now. I rise from my knees feeling spiritually refreshed! I shared details in the hope that you would see how inexhaustible your conversations with God can be.
Pray as if your life depends on it, because you desperately need Jesus’ help. Don’t be in the number of the many Christians who are not enjoying Jesus and don’t have the help they need, because they don’t ask (James 4:2).
It is my hope that this post moves you to firmly commit to spend time with Jesus every morning, putting a defined structure in place. Deciding beforehand, what must be a priority and holding the line no matter what. Having resources such as study plans or organised direct bible readings. Incorporating wonderful songs to charge your soul with truths. Learning to Pray.
Get a daily Bible reading plan! Read God’s Word everyday.
Unleash the power of Christ-exalting songs! Sing truths about God and His great love, which will preach to your heart!
Pray before doing these things, pray after doing them, pray a lot more!