There’s a new program going around the Christian community called First Fifteen. I like it. It is a strategy designed to encourage us to spend the first fifteen minutes of every day with God. In His Word. In His presence. Talking to Him. Listening. It’s a great idea, but I think we can build it even stronger. My recommendation would be that we call it Fifteen First; then Two. And it would go like this…
First thing after we wake up in the morning – and after the mandatory bathroom stop – we turn our energies to getting in touch with God. We don’t check Email or any of the other burgeoning social media platforms. We don’t turn on the TV and surf the news. We open His Word which we left on the night stand last night. We’re praying (not just reading) through the New Testament and we’re up to the 9th chapter of Matthew so we pick up where we left off yesterday, vs. 9 – 13.
After we rad that paragraph we reflect, meditate, pose questions: This is a story about a party. Interesting. But I find myself asking, What does God want to say to me here? Jesus lived on earth around thirty three years after His miraculous birth, yet we have a record in the four gospels of only about 100 days. What is so important about this party at Matthew’s house that God left out many other events and included this one? Show me, Lord, what you want to say to me here. Maybe You want me to learn about the kind of people Jesus hung out with. What should I do with the fact that those are not “my kind of people”? Would you teach me how I can use even a party to tell your story?
My prayer time most often consists of my talking to God and hoping He’s listening. But I’m learning that the best kind of praying is a two-way conversation. I learn a lot more when I’m listening than when I’m talking. So when there is something I want to know, I ask; then I listen. It’s amazing what you learn when you’re listening to God. I think He likes it when we listen.
But, whoa, the fifteen minutes are about gone. I wondered how I’d spend it, but now I see I may have to stretch it…at least for thirty. Maybe rising fifteen minutes earlier. For now. We’ll see how that works.
But what about the “Then Two” part of the assignment? During the prayer time I want to remember to ask God to show me who He wants to bless through me today. When He brings a name to mind (Church Directory; someone who missed church last week, Christmas card list?) I immediately pick up my phone and call. Quick call. “I was just thinking about you this morning and wanted you to know I prayed for you. Hope you have a joyous journey on this Tuesday. Big blessings. Bye.” Part two, done.
So, I’ve got my marching orders from the Sovereign of the universe and the privilege of being a quick blessing to one of His children. Total time lapse: maybe twenty minutes. The day is off to a really good start. Thank You, Lord.
By Don Jacobsen (hope-heals.org)