Monday, August 22, 2016
Optimize Your Day: Prayer
Let me say first off that this is not your primary daily prayer time. You can take care of that whenever it suits your schedule, but this is just a few quiet minutes alone with God. Remember the entire Optimize Your Day program should take no more than thirty minutes, so don't feel you need to cram all your prayer requests into this small time frame. That's not what this is about. It's not about asking for things. It's all about starting your day in the arms of the Savior.
Obviously, this is a personal time between you and God, so I won't presume to tell you what you should say. That's completely up to you. I will say that I typically use this time to dedicate myself and my day to the Lord. I thank Him for a good night's sleep and for another day to serve Him. Then I ask Him to use me in a mighty way throughout the day. The words and the message change a little from day to day, depending on my mood and the current state of my heart, but for the most part, this is just time for me to remember why I'm here and who I serve. Getting that straight in my head and heart before I begin the day is vital to my physical, spiritual and emotional health.
Just as with the words, the posture you use during this process is entirely up to you. You can kneel on the floor, sit in a chair, or recline on the couch. You do what feels right and what you feel the Lord would have you to do. The most important thing at this time is to rid your mind of all distractions and focus solely on Jesus. This is His time!
Here's my favorite part of this entire program. Let's say that you were planning to pray while fixing breakfast, but your five-year-old lost her shoe, the one she had to wear to school that day, and you spent the morning searching for said shoe, leaving you with no option but to hand each of the kids a Pop-tart as you headed out the door. No problem, you think, I'll just use my lunch break to catch up on my prayer time. But your boss has another idea, and you spend your lunch break in a business meeting. The day goes on and every opportunity to grab some quiet time with the Lord backfires in some way. By the end of the day, you finally have some time, but you're exhausted in every way possible. Doesn't it make you feel good to know that you've already spent time with the Lord? Sure, you wanted to do more. I get that. But at least the day didn't rob you of every opportunity. By making this your priority of the day, nothing else could steal it away.
Because of this, I recommend getting up about 30 minutes earlier than the rest of your household if possible. That way you can have this time all to yourself. No distractions!
Prayer is a powerful thing, and ideally, we'll get to spend more than a few minutes in prayer each day. But, at the very least, begin your day by talking to the Lord. He deserves our time and attention more than anyone else, so it's only fitting that He gets our attention first. That way, too, He gets our best and not what's left after a hard, frustrating day.
My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. - Psalm 5:3