The early days with a newborn are pure survival. Sleep when you can, as long as you can. At some point, the baby begins to sleep a little longer, a little later. It took almost four years for my first born to sleep through the night. Those years of minimal sleep were difficult, to say the least. I quickly learned the importance of priorities and planning. Showers required strategic timing. Cooking dinner involved entertaining distractions. Reading the Bible meant waking up before the baby.
Life is no less complicated now. With three kids ranging from three to twelve, I have night owls and early birds, play dates and homework. From the minute the first little feet hit the floor until the tweenage head rests on her pillow, I am busy. In order to spend time with God, I put it first in my day.
Giving God the first minutes of my day doesn’t just happen on its own. I am intentional about it. It is a standing appointment in my day. When my alarm sounds, I know Who waits for me.
I’ve no doubt your life is equally busy, maybe more so. No matter how important you are or how full your calendar is, giving God your first fifteen minutes can change your life. By committing your first thoughts to Him, you set the tone for your day—and your life.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Rom. 12:2 NIV)
How do we give God our first fifteen minutes when our time feels limited and distractions bombard us?
5 Ways to Help Give God Your First 15 Minutes
Go to bed.
The surest way to get up five minutes early is to go to bed five minutes early. I am no authority on sleep; I’ve tried unsuccessfully for two years to get a consistent seven hours each night. I do know, however, the earlier I go to bed, the easier it is to get up. We have a million things to do before bed—pack lunches, give baths, load the dishwasher. But a few things can wait—checking Facebook one last time, flipping through the channels, even the dishes can wait. Decide tonight which is more important, time with God or that thing that will keep you awake.
Get an alarm clock.
While this seems redundant since most people use their phone as their alarm, using a traditional alarm clock can make a difference. By separating your alarm from your phone, you minimize distractions in those first few minutes. Instead of seeing the incoming emails and messages you missed, you only see the time. This also allows you to keep your phone away from your bedside table, decreasing night-time distractions. I found a simple alarm clock at my thrift store for $1.98—worth every penny!
We are more likely to follow through with a plan if we have to answer to someone. Find someone who wants to give God their first five minutes, too. Agree to check in via text message, something as simple as, “I’m up!” Maybe your spouse wants to join in. Set your alarm together and help kick one another out of bed.
Have a plan.
Once you’re up, you need a plan to keep you focused. Play a worship song to focus your heart and mind. Select a Bible reading plan that works for you. Try Bible Gateway, She Reads Truth, or First 5. You don’t have to read through the Bible in a year, or even read an entire chapter to make it “count.” Just read something. Spend a few minutes in prayer. If you find it difficult to keep your thoughts focused, keep a list of prayer needs in your Bible or in your notes app. Five minutes of worship, five minutes in God’s Word, and five minutes in prayer. You can do it!
Sometimes distractions are unavoidable: an early rising baby, an emergency phone call from work. Sometimes we invite distractions into our morning: scrolling through Instagram, scanning the headlines, starting a load of laundry. Don’t pick up your phone until you pick up your Bible. If your kids wake up as soon as your feet hit the floor, back the alarm up fifteen minutes or keep your supplies by your bed so you can read without disturbing them. Determine now to put those avoidable distractions aside until you’ve given God your first fifteen minutes.
Giving God your first fifteen minutes is not something to check off the “Getting on God’s Good Side” list. We build a relationship with Him by spending time with Him, conversing with Him through prayer and reading. We invite Him into our day and ask Him to direct our thoughts and steps. Those early minutes are the building blocks of faith, the seeds of hope, and the initial steps of godly submission. “Honor God with your first fifteen and He will bless the rest!” (Chris Hodges).Honor God with your first fifteen minutes and He will bless the rest! -Chris HodgesClick To Tweet
For more on establishing helpful spiritual routines, check out Chris Hodges’s series Uphill Habits.
Photo credit: Mpho Mojapelo via Unsplash.