The one thing that is irreplaceable in my daily grind is a schedule. The forward motion of creating an itinerary sets the day right, as I come to acknowledge that I have things to get done. As I look at the calendar on my phone, I see that I have an appointment on Thursday and that I need to call my mother on Friday. Itemized colors vie for my attention, lobbying for each someone or something that I must not forget. As laughable as it may seem, if the event is not on my calendar, it doesn’t exist. The daylight hours tick away quickly, and I often wonder where the time has gone.
Every day we are hit with various pings from our phone, messages, news headlines, advertisements, and even viral videos that tend to suck up our time. Truthfully, even my laundry sends angry texts at me now. I am willing to bet that the first app you open in the day is the one you use the most. Where does that leave your time with God? Is He put aside under the hustle and bustle of your hours, as if He is just white noise? We tend to prioritize the people and things we want in life. Many of us are so excited about the new Marvel tv show, but how excited are we to be close to Jesus?
Let me take a few minutes of your time to give you some tips on putting God first every day. When we incorporate forms of prayer, praise and bible study into our day, we don’t forget the most important person in our lives. We let God know that without Him, there is no schedule.
Whenever the word prayer is mentioned, we tend to imagine some elaborate ritual to convey our ideas and petitions to God. Countless times I heard from the people I hold dear that they simply were not “good at praying.” I find that this particular excuse stems from years of exclusionary and elitist behavior towards everyday believers. The truth is that prayer is something that anyone can partake. Jesus even sacrificed Himself for that relationship to become more accessible. Prayer is not to be an extravagant, public gesture but a sincere posture of the heart. Jesus taught us how to pray by saying, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:5-6 NIV. The goal should never be to look impressive but to have a real relationship with the one who created you.
Whether you are in a car, café, or your closet, God will hear what you have to say. He is keen on helping you even when you do not have the right words to say. In scripture, we can see that God is eager to listen and give you precisely what you need, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27 NIV. Just as any good parent would, God always has His door open for His children. We only need to put in the effort for God to take on the rest.
Prayer is an intimate conversation that not only addresses your concerns but brings clarity to God’s will for your life. Do you want to know what job to take? Ask God; He knows who is on the other side of the interview. Do you want to know how to stop a habit in your life? Ask how you may think more positively for better outcomes. Are you questioning your place in the world? Ask the God who created your purpose. Jesus tells us this very principle in scripture by saying, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”Matthew 7:7-8 NIV. Some unanswered prayers are simply prayers that we don’t dare to ask.
You may think your prayer is too small or inconsequential to bring up to God, but He is yearning to be in every part of your life. Jesus told us, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7 NIV. If you need a friend or someone to understand, take the time to speak with the one who knows you best.
In life, you will find that you forget what God can achieve more often than not. It’s not because you don’t love God or even revere Him; it will be due to how much you endure daily. Instead of remembering that God is always with you, the problems of today take away your focus. When this happens, our job is to encourage ourselves by acknowledging the Lord’s goodness in our lives. Worship and praise is the active recognition of God through joyful singing, speaking, and dancing. It doesn’t matter how you choose to praise as much as participating in it. Praise is a way of life, and when you live it out, there are no limits to your faith.
Have you ever heard a song that feels as if it uplifted your soul? Worshipping God can create a sense of hope in a bleak situation. It forces us to reflect on the actual character of God versus our clouded impressions of Him due to circumstance. In scripture, we realize the importance of praise when it says, “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations” Psalms 100:1-5 NIV. Joy becomes our natural response to the wondrous love of God. After a few minutes of genuine praise, you will find that you can’t possibly enumerate all the things God has done for you. Watch as invisible weights fall off as you recognize where your help comes from while bravely praising today.
When you think of all of God’s promises and His love for you, there is a change in perspective that can prepare you for the future. There is no better place to find a positive change of attitude than reading psalms! In Psalm 34, we read, “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing” Psalms 34:8-10 NKJV. You may not have it all together, and that is ok, but God is more than capable of providing for your needs. Praise gives us the ability to hold on to God and his promises even in the most desperate times. King David worships in Psalm 23 as He describes God’s true nature, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”Psalms 23:1-4 NKJV. David was fending off enemies while going through turmoil within his home, yet still gave God His proper place within His heart. Circumstances never deterred David from loving God, and neither will we when we praise.
There is a vast difference between knowing about God and having a relationship with Him. You can come to church on Sunday dressed in your Sunday best and still have no clue about why you came. You can have all the best Instagram posts in the world and still not have a clear picture for being a genuine believer. I want to let you in on where fundamental transformation comes from as a Christian. The time we devote to reading the word and then living it out is the most important aspect we can prioritize in our day. If you don’t know who you are concerning God, what hope do you have to know your purpose today? If you don’t see what calling yourself a Christian means, how could you possibly expect anyone to join you? If you don’t read scripture, it’s as though you are refusing to equip yourself with the owner’s manual to life.
When we open up the pages of scripture, we tend to think that we are reading the tales of long ago. Many people believe that if they have memorized the story, they know everything they need to be Christians. These thoughts of “knowing it all” are severely misguided and often lead to false Christianity. The word of God is not only to comfort us or give us examples; it allows us to see our spiritual state. In scripture, we learn that active participation instead of empty reading is necessary for our faith walk. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:22-25 NKJV. When reading the word we see the depths of our souls as if looking into a mirror. We know that we need a savior, that we need to change our lives, and that we need to love others. Any time that you come from a devotional reading unchanged, you should assess your faith.
Devotion time keeps us in the presence and will of God. We need to discern God’s truth versus whatever is being said on a platform. If we neglect our study of the word, we will be subject to believe anyone else’s wrong opinions. In scripture, you find that it warns of this very thing, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4 NIV. The only way not to be deceived is to stick to the actual scripture rather than base our faith simply on what we feel it should say. We should be excited to read about the gospel because it not only depicts God’s love and grace back then, it shows us His presence in our lives now.
There will be plenty of distractions that will come our way, but our priority should always be God first. Whenever you set aside time for God to either praise, pray, or read scripture about Him, you worship Him. God has always put in the time and effort for us; it is time that we do the same. These simple yet powerful decisions you make will change your life for the better. You will know what you stand for, be able to face any circumstance, and most importantly, know who the God you are talking to is. Will you prioritize Him?
Have you ever heard a song that feels as if it uplifted your soul? Worshipping and praising God can create a sense of hope in a bleak situation. It forces us to reflect on the actual character of God versus our present circumstances. In scripture, we realize the importance of praise when it says, “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations” Psalms 100:1-5 NIV. Joy becomes our natural response to the wondrous love of God. After a few minutes of genuine praise, you will find that you can’t possibly enumerate all the things God has done for you. Watch as invisible weights fall off as you recognize where your help comes from while bravely praising today.