By Rhonda Jones
Establishing a Christian morning routine or time with Jesus can help you start each day with more peace, mindfulness, purpose, and clarity. I know as believers that most of us want to spend quality time with God, but either 1) we don’t feel that we have the time, or 2) we’ve gotten into a rut doing the same things over and over and it’s become kind of an mundane and boring.
So today I want to show you how in 20 minutes a day, you can create a Christian morning routine that will transform your day as well as your life. I want to start out by saying that the way that we start our morning is going to be reflected in the rest of our day. Therefore, if you start your morning checking in with God, building our life on a spiritual foundation, reconnecting with yourself, and with peace and reflection, you’ll be able to pull from that power and strength as needed. Contrary to this, waking up feeling rushed or filled with tension and/or anxiety will set the tone for your day and have adverse affects on you as well.
Our life is pretty much made up of one moment after the next, so it’s so important that if we want to draw closer to God that we make time for Him.
We are spiritual beings. We have the Spirit of God living inside of us. Luke says we are the temple of the Holy Spirit and it’s important that we develop our inner journey as well, even more so, than our outer journey.
I want to read to you a passage from one of my favorite books. It has to do with meditation and it’s called “Seeing with the Eyes of Love on the Imitation of Christ.” It’s such a beautiful book filled with so much wisdom to reflect upon.
“It says the mystics don’t deny the existence of the external world, it is we who deny the internal world, which they are telling us is every bit as real. There are mountains within, they tell us higher than the Himalayas. Similarity if you ask the mystics why they want to travel inward, they will tell you because God is there.”
Isn’t that beautiful?”
We can do a lot of things that we think are going to connect us to God, a lot of external things, but it’s really about abiding in Christ and going inward. That is what establishing a daily Christian morning routine or practice can do for you, so let’s get started.
Number one on the list is to meditate. I cannot stress this enough because when we start our morning with meditation, we transition out of the physical realm and we move into the spiritual realm. It’s a beautiful way to transition from the night. To stay with the 20 minutes (or so) you can do a five minute quiet meditation, guided, or scripture meditation. One example is to meditate on the Lord’s Prayer where you silently repeat it in your mind integrating each word with your breath. Any time your mind wanders off bring your attention back to your breath.
Do that for five minutes and allow your mind and body to relax and be at peace. Another alternative is to listen to my six-minute meditation on YouTube called Open My Eyes Meditation. This is a morning meditation that focuses on giving God the first fruits of your day.
Meditation helps us to observe our mind and detach from lower level thinking. Our thoughts often take us on wild rides and creates lots of mental stories and inner drama. When we have a consistent meditation practice, we are able to detach from faulty mindsets and choose to think or behave differently, to transcend our own programing. We can choose to just be, walk in the spirit, or apply faith and love to any situation, instead of allowing ourselves to get caught up in fear-based or toxic emotions.
#2- Welcoming Prayer (Purify Your Heart)
After I meditate, I’ll do an internal check-in. When I leave my morning routine, I want to have a pure heart, a clean mind, and nothing weighing me down. So many times we were holding on to things of the past, something someone said, something that hurt us, or we have unforgiveness in our hearts. These keep us living in the past on one long emotional moment. It’s time we break free.
Sometimes we’re still upset about something and because we are living in a sin-filled world, things are just going to get on us, attach to us, and if we don’t promptly release them, circulate in our body and create dis-ease. Therefore, I’ll do a check-in to see if I’m feeling fearful, insecure, sad, angry, or depressed, all of which have corresponding sensations in the body. These feelings can include a heavy heart, tension in my head, or overall anxiety. Next, I’ll bring my attention to those areas and go through the Welcoming Prayer slowly. God doesn’t want us to house these toxic emotions forever, but to release them and let them go. That’s the wonderful thing about our emotions, they tell us our state of mind, whether it is healthy or tainted. This prayer is in both my Date with God and Help Me God Change my Life books or you can just google a copy of it.
Sometimes instead of the welcoming prayer, I’ll do EFT which is Emotional Freedom Technique. I’ll use this method integrated with scriptures.
“Welcome, Welcome. I welcome everything that comes to me in this moment because I know it is for my healing. I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions, person’s situations and conditions. Welcome welcome. I let go of my desire for security. I let go of my desire for approval. I let go of my desire for control. I let go of my desire to change any situation, any condition, or person’s, or myself. I open to the love and presence of God and the healing action and grace within.”
Take a few moments to go through the welcoming prayer, feel the sensation in your body. Wherever you’re feeling it notice it, release it, and let it go. Whatever is burdening you, you can place it on the altar and surrender it to God and allow Him to work out all things on your behalf (and the behalf of others) in all situations. Next, take a couple deep breaths in and out releasing these acknowledged emotions from your body and bring yourself back to a state of peace.
If you still feel any lingering emotions, do it again, or just trust that the healing is taking place even if it’s not totally gone right in that moment. The need for security, control, approval, and uncertainty are huge triggers. We want to feel secure before taking a risk, control other people, feel loved and validated by others, and avoid uncertainty like the plague; however, it is moving toward the edge of our comfort zone that creates growth. Find the courage within to walk in faith and not by sight or security.
3# – Read a Devotional
Number three on the list is to read a devotional. My favorite devotional is Jesus Calling. What I love about Jesus calling is first of all, it’s so timely. Almost every time I read it, I’m like, “God, how did you know?” It’s so pertinent to what’s going on in my life. I also love it because it emphasizes experiencing God, being in God’s presence, trusting God, and creating an experiential relationship with Him versus just ahead knowledge. In just a minute or two of reading the devotional, you’ll receive some spiritual inspiration for the day and feel like God is speaking directly to you.
# 4- Read Bible or Inspirational Text
Next read your Bible or an inspirational book for five minutes. I like to read the Bible chronologically. I know some people like to do it topically or even randomly. Regardless of the method, read for five minutes or until something resonates with you. Then pause, and ponder it, and make it personal to your life.
Alternatively if you desire, read an inspirational book as well. Right now, I’m reading a book called Vacations for the Spirit. It’s amazing how much you can read and learn in just five minutes. Also, reading in these small chunks gives you time to digest ah-huh moments and new insights that can completely shift your mindset and/or enhance your life and deepen your Christian walk.
# 5- Journaling & Affirmative Statements
Now it’s time to put some of these insights on paper. Basically you write whatever God is putting on your heart. This includes any messages, intuition, promptings, book quotes, relevant Bible verses, or ideas. I would also encourage you write 3 affirmative statements everyday. Affirmative statements are like prayers that have already happened. They can be about a goal or intention you have or regarding someone else. For example, “I am a pillar of health and wellness,” “I am doing what I love and new opportunities always come my way,” or “My son-in-law is a wonderful husband and father.”
It’s so encouraging and enlightening going back and reading your journal and seeing how you’ve grown or what God has done in your life over the years. It will show you that God has been with you every step of the way.
#6- Put Something on God’s To Do List
Next on the list is to put something on God’s To-Do List. The Bible says we have not because we ask not, and so often we’re trying to do so much in our own strength, we forget we’ve got a big God out there (He lives inside us too) that created the whole universe. In fact, God created something from nothing. He’s just waiting for us to put something on his to-do list to show us that He hears our prayers and has our back.
Start by putting three things on God’s To Do List every day. It could be about blessing someone else, help with a problem, manifesting a future goal, or a need or desire you have. Instead of struggling or striving to make things happen, allow God to manifest your desires in His perfect way and timing. Be sure to listen to God’s still small voice or any promptings of the Spirit. Also, ask for something big, something that only God can do. Then stand in faith and continue to thank the Lord for it.
#7- Your To Do List
Next, take out a sticky note, planner, or notebook and write down three to five things that you want to accomplish today. Put those activities that you tend to postpone at the top of your to-do list and do them first. This way, you’re starting your day with focus and intention. Once you’ve completed your 3-5 activities (no matter how small), the success of these accomplishments will create momentum for future goals.
# 8- Seal It In Prayer
Now it’s time to seal it up in prayer. Thank God for doing exceedingly abundantly in your life and that all things are working together for my highest good. Thank Him for all the things that He’s going to do. Quote some scriptures that declare you are a co-creator with Christ and a joint heir with God. Our words, they are powerful and they are life and they cannot return the void (according to the Scripture). Speak those things that be not as though they already were. I like to do affirmative prayer because I know that my prayer is supercharged with God’s creative manifesting power.
# 9- Fitness
Lastly, get your body moving with a little fitness. Now depending upon your personality, you may decide it’s best to add the fitness part the first thing, (before meditation). Either way, begin or end with five minutes of fitness. Some options include five minutes of yoga, five minutes of Sun Salutations, or five minutes of a circuit (maybe sit-ups, push-ups, and squats). I have a stationary bike that I will ride as well. Fitness gets you energized in the morning and gets your blood going. If you have a cell phone, add a workout playlist of your favorite upbeat music. This makes the workout fun and it goes by so much faster.
If you continue with this 20-minute (give or take a few minutes) Christian morning routine, you are going to see so many things in your life change. By making just small changes or habits, you put your life on a whole new course.
Once you get started on a new trajectory of health, spirituality, and wellness, you’ll notice that you will carry this mindset and new behaviors throughout the rest of your day. If you want to get some more ideas, check out my book, The Christian Meditation Journal, that includes dozens of morning routine activities. If you are in need of a life makeover, check out Help me God Changed my Life, a 12-week program where you detox seven core areas in your life starting with your mind, your emotions, your spirit, all the way to your vision. Coming soon is my membership club, so please stay tuned. Also, learn more about my Be Still and Know Meditaton Memberhipsthat includes everything you need to create a self-care morning routine.