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What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning? How do you start your day? Some of us might say coffee or a shower. Some might flip on the news. Parents know the joy of trying to get the kids up and going for school. We all have a routine, and it sets the tone for our day. If you struggle to wake up, you might find yourself sluggish and hitting the coffee machine at 3 p.m. (Not that I’d know anything about that…) If you pop up, excited for all the day holds, that joy might carry you through the rough patches.
How many of us start our day with prayer? How many of us, claiming to love and follow Jesus, remember to begin the day with Him? Thankfully this is a blog post, and not a discussion forum where you might be forced to answer those last two questions out loud. (I know I’m grateful.) Worse yet, if we don’t start with Jesus, where does He fit in our day?
Pastor Tim began this new series, First Things First, with a challenge: If you don’t give Jesus your first thought, you won’t give Him a second thought. When I heard that the first time, it shook me. I knew it was true, and I knew that for me it it meant reconsidering how I was starting my day.
I’m great at remembering to pray when rough times hit, when a friend is in need or when I feel lost. And those are all great times to reach out to Jesus. He’s there for us in those times, providing the comfort and guidance only He can provide. But that’s only one part of our relationship with God.
I remember listening to a message once where the speaker talked about soldiers. He said their training officer really knew what was real and what took root by how they responded when they got in the field and the bullets started flying. It reminded me of my music teacher in high school who told us practice makes permanent. If we were sloppy and going through the motions in practice, we’d perform that way during the concert. Those ideas stuck with me, and I think they apply to prayer too.
We need to practice the prayer life we want to have—one that prioritizes a relationship with God at the outset of our day. We need to put God first, especially when it comes to prayer. Which is something Jesus modeled for us in this week’s passage: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35).
As we think about our priorities and our routines this week, ask yourself where prayer fits into that routine. Or better yet, consider where it should fit into that routine.