5 Routines to Begin Your Day with God
O God, You are my God. Early will I seek You.
Does a leader’s dedicated morning time with God really matter? If so, what are some of the top spiritual practices treasured by leaders? Would you like to learn to leverage your morning to live out a deeper, trusting relationship with God—particularly in the workplace?
A new, informal BCWI poll reveals a host of initial eye-opening answers. The respondents’ candid, unedited responses suggest five distinct ways leaders choose to engage with God before work.
So, why would a “morning first” focus on God matter right now? Two words:
Steve Macchia, who heads Leadership Transformations, says “As the leader goes, so goes the organization. Even more importantly, as the soul of the leader goes, so goes the leader.
“During this pandemic, when we’re trying to figure out what we can and cannot do and how we’re connecting with others, there’s a great need to care for the soul. While we’re busy with so many other things, the soul is often the most neglected part of the person.”
Which of these five approaches for beginning the day with God resonates most with you?
1. The Inquirer
Hear my voice according to your steadfast love; O Lord, according to your justice give me life.
“Every morning, I have coffee with Jesus. Both are essential,” said one respondent. “I leveraged some guidance I received about writing out my pain, frustrations, and fears, much like we read in the psalms. Out of this, I created a simple practice with a piece of paper folded into four quadrants, each with a question:
- What is my truth/experience as I begin the day (my joys, tears, and fears)?
- What is true of God in Scripture?
- What is true of me in light of the Scripture?
- What am I trusting and releasing to God knowing he will provide?”
For the Inquirer, open-ended questions, combined with faith and trust, can be a prelude to worship. Said one respondent, “Although singing is not my strength, I sing and dance to the Lord without shame.”
2. The Student
“Arise, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it.”
An experienced leader was quick to respond, “If I don’t take time with God in the morning, even if I read, journal, and pray later in the day, it’s not the same. For me, it’s like not shaving after I get up. By afternoon, someone sees my face and says, “What happened to you?”
“Through the influence of the Navigators during graduate school, quiet time with the Lord and Scripture memory became my foundation. I began a practice of reading and memorizing the Word, then writing some thoughts in my journal to keep me accountable. Thus, my mornings with God began to follow a pattern: Word, write, and pray.”
This three-step sequence of reading, reflection (writing), and expressing praise and need to God, runs through all five ways of beginning the day with God.
“A second important pattern has shaped my mornings with the Lord: Stick to a regular time, a place, and a plan.”
“And because I’m a driven person, I have to tell myself, ‘Don’t rush. It’s not about the amount of time, but rather the quality of time I spend with God each morning.’”
3. The Commuter
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
“In pre-COVID-19 days when people used to drive to work, I found it very helpful to use my commute time to pray,” said another respondent. “Ordinarily I would have listened to the radio news or podcast, but I discovered that using that time in prayer really accomplished five things:
- I wasn’t frustrated by the traffic jams.
- I looked forward to red lights.
- I had uninterrupted time with God.
- I could sing worship to God without anyone being distracted.
- I arrived at work inspired and having a real sense of God’s presence.
“I came to cherish any commute time as a special, intimate time with God.” How can The Commuter “park” this approach in a stay-at-home environment? That might take some work, including learning to slow down and practice braking with “some uninterrupted time with God.”
4. The Initiator
“So, put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.”
-1 Peter 2:1
Why begin the day with God?
“Because,” said one respondent, “the Lord deserves the first and best part of my day. It sets up my day right. Besides, without anchoring myself with God in the morning, I’m like chaff that blows with the wind.” Then, he shared this story:
“For the past 35 years, I’ve started my mornings with the Lord reading Bible commentaries. I’m a layperson who wants to take the Greek seriously to understand the meaning of the passage so I can know what it says and how I can apply it.
“Being a cancer survivor provided me a metaphor for applying the Lord’s Prayer, particularly, ‘Forgive our debts, as we forgive our debtors.’ For a long time, I lived with anger toward a person who had wronged me and who I had wronged. Every morning, every day, I began praying that the Lord would bless this person. After all, our relationship, like my cancer, was toxic. My rehab required I drink 60 ounces of water a day. Praying daily for my debtor, over time, cleansed me of my anger. The trajectory of my toxic attitude toward him went down. By ’drinking in’ a genuine desire for God to bless this person, my anger toward him eventually washed away.”
5. The Listener
Yet have regard to the prayer of your servant and to his plea O Lord my God, listening to the cry and to the prayer that your servant prays before you this day. . .
“Each morning, I listen to the app, “Pray as You Go.” It includes a scripture reading, guided questions about the scripture, and then repeats the scripture leaving time to pray. I often journal my prayers on the app, Day One. After a cup of tea with my wife, we walk together for the first one and a half miles. She splits off, and I finish my 4.2 miles with podcasts like Enneagram Mapmakers, Turning to the Mystics, Michael Hyatt’s “Lead to Win,” and Donald Miller’s “Story Brand.”
Which of these five, morning approaches affirms a part of your current morning time with God? Is there something here you want to do and would like to try? What would that look like, or perhaps sound like?
As one poll respondent noted, “I enjoy worship music in the morning. I ask “Alexa, play ‘Morning Has Broken by Third Day:’”
Morning has broken
Like the first dawn
A new day is born
Mine is the sunlight
Mine is the morning
Born of the one light
Eden saw play
Praise with elation
Praise every morning
Of the new day
“The song takes me to Lamentations 3:22-23: ‘The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.’
“All of it sets my heart right with praise.”
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