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How do you feel about routines? Perhaps you feel rather negative when you hear the word; maybe you feel that it suggests something which is dull, repetitive, mundane. Spontaneity sounds much more fun, doesn’t it, much more exciting, much more interesting. The thing is, we need routine, we need structure; you can’t be a purely spontaneous farmer, or teacher, or construction worker or anything; certain things need to be done and they need to be done regularly. Living a Christian life isn’t something that just happens, you have to work at it and routine is one of the ways in which you can ensure that you’re making progress on your spiritual journey.
Christian morning routine
‘I’m not really a morning person,’ you’ve heard people say that, right, maybe you say it yourself. Popular wisdom tells us that we’re either a lark or an owl and that seems to legitimize how we manage our waking and sleeping, but come on, you can get up early if you really want to. You’ll get up at four in the morning if you want to take advantage of that cheap holiday flight, but you’re not prepared to get up early so that you can spend time with the Lord, really? Now, of course, everyone has different commitments to manage. Perhaps you have small children who wake early and cause you to have a broken night’s sleep or maybe you work night shifts. God understands. For most of us though, we don’t get up early because we’d rather stay cozy in bed, rather stay cozy under the covers than talk to God.
There is no better way to start your day than by spending time opening your heart to the Lord. Set that alarm an hour earlier, sure you might find it difficult to begin with but pretty soon you’ll cherish that first part of the day and spending a morning hour in Christian devotion will make you day so much better.
‘This is the day the lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.’ Psalm 118:24
Why not start your days with a gratitude prayer? Fill your heart with the joy of the Lord and face the day with a positive mindset. Spend some time with the scriptures, perhaps as part of your Bible study course or perhaps with Biblical declarations and affirmations. Think about the day ahead as a Christian. How will you serve the Lord today?
‘I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me’. Proverbs 8:17
What time did Jesus wake up in the morning?
‘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. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed “Everyone is looking for you.” ‘ Mark 1: 35-36
These are the verses most frequently quoted in answer to that question, though the fact that Simon and his companions went looking for him suggests that this was not Jesus’ usual practice. In Jesus’ time, the only illumination available, once darkness fell, would have been a tallow lamp, burning olive oil. Such lamps gave out minimal illumination and so, as was the custom for centuries, before the advent of other forms of lighting, people rose at first light and went to bed when darkness fell. On this occasion Jesus clearly felt the need to spend more time talking to God. At crucial times, Jesus would even stay up all night praying, such as the night before he chose the apostles and the night before his crucifixion.
Morning Bible studies
It does not anger God that you find the Bible ‘difficult’. Why would we expect the wisdom of our creator to be simple and easy to understand? If you find that you are struggling with your Bible studies, that you find it difficult to focus or that you are simply too tired, why not try opening your Bible first thing in the morning when your mind is fresh. Studying the Bible, when you first wake will give you the best possible start for the day and will help you keep Jesus at the center of your life.
Christian evening routine
Do you feel exhausted at the end of the day, and all you want to do is flop in front of the T.V. ? Don’t give in to fatigue. Spending time examining the day’s events in the light of scripture will give you a reinvigorating spiritual cleansing. Use your Christian journal to reflect upon your day and you will be rewarded with a peaceful heart and a good night’s sleep. Read your Bible and consider how you can serve God the following day. For centuries, Christians have prayed before going to bed. Begin and end your day with Jesus.
‘In peace, I will lie down and sleep, for you alone O Lord will keep me safe.’ Psalm 4:8
What time did Jesus go to bed?
As discussed previously, although there were times when Jesus would stay up all night to pray, it is likely that like most people in those times, he went to bed at nightfall and rose at first light. We also know that there were times when Jesus slept during the day.
‘A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’ Mark 4: 37-38
Jesus needed sleep because he had taken on mortal form and shared our experience while on earth. Sleep is a nightly miracle, a time when we entrust ourselves to God’s care, a reminder of our limitations and frailty.
Evening bible studies
For most of us the evening is the time of day when we have ‘free time’. The working day is over, the children are in bed, we have time to relax, time to be with our loved one or friends. It’s also likely to be the time when our energy levels are at their lowest; it’s the time when we flop in front of a screen, because that is the easiest thing to do. Bible study in the evening takes an effort of will because it is not a passive activity, like sitting in front of your T.V., it requires focus and concentration, but those are not reasons not to do it. Once you have made the effort, once you have made the commitment, you’ll find that you are energized by the word of the Lord. The troubles of the day will fade away and the peace of the Lord will descend upon you.