Saturday, January 14, 2012
I almost don't feel qualified to write this post, because these are things I have had trouble doing consistently, and yet when I do keep to these things, I can tell the difference in my life, in my attitude. Also, I think it would be helpful to others, especially other mom's with small children. The way I learned to do these things is because people told me about their own habits. From there Holy Spirit inspired me to make them fit my own season in life. Clever I am not, and in matters of spiritual discipline I am not terribly creative either.
So most of these are not originally mine.
I wanted to post a few ideas and tips I have anyways, habits and little tricks to find time during the day to be with the Lord. Having good ideas is only half the battle, I know, and maybe the ideas are even as little as a third of the battle, with the other 2/3 being the work of putting good ideas into practice. Still, the rewards are worth the work in the long run. Persevere!
Here are some ideas to get you kick started, hopefully (at least a third of the way).
1. Cutting out a few Good Things!
My schedule was feeling full and I was even trying to squeeze in homeschooling stuff for the first time, so I could not figure out when I was going to find time to read more or add time to do a Bible study. That is when I evaluated my days and decided to cut out a few things that I did that I enjoyed, but were not necessary. Facebook time and computer time in general were the first to get cut, the other one that got cut was my nap time. I have so little time to myself these days, I could no longer justify a nap every day for an hour. If I need a 20 min. power nap that is one thing, but an hour of no little kids in my business is a lot to waste.
2. Prayer Lists and Practicality.
It will come as no surprised to those who know me that I feel very strongly about the power of prayer, and so I try to pray and be consistent in prayer for the things I want to see happen in my life and in my friend's lives. At the same time, it is unrealistic for me to think that I can pray daily for all the things on my prayer lists. So I had to break my lists into days. I pray for certain things on certain days of the week, and I don't pray long winded prayers for any of it. God doesn't need my many words to know what is needed, and for that I am thankful. I also don't want all my prayer time to be filled with my petitions to the Lord. I want to leave plenty of time to sit and just listen, or talk to Him about scriptures that I have been reading. So I limit my laundry list of prayers to those that are most important to me and those closest to me.
To be blunt, I get lots of prayer requests, via email, via word of mouth, even via text message. As much as I want to pray and do pray for these things, they don't usually make it onto my prayer list unless I feel impressed to do so by the Lord. I will pray when the request is made, I may even pray a couple times the same day the request is received, but after that, I may not. My point here is not to seem casual or coarse about the prayer needs of others, but to make the idea of praying more realistic for those just starting out.
3. Starting a Bible Study.
My desire for going deeper in the Word has grown in past years, but it is always nice to have someone else to spur you on in your study. Formal Bible studies are great sometimes, but if you are busy, then doing a smaller study with just one friend, one on one, is sometimes more practical than trying to get an entire group together. One on one studies allow for intimacy and flexibility on when the study is discussed, while still providing you with the accountability of doing the study with someone.
I use to feel like finding time to read the Word was such a burden, and sometimes it was in the way I was trying to do it. Traditional reading is great, and there is no complete substitute for taking your physical Bible in your hands and reading it. As a stay at home mom though, there are other ways to get the Word in you, and to fill your home with it. Three other ways that I enjoy as often as I need them, Audio Bible, The Gospel of John on DVD, and the Prayer Room Web-stream in Kansas City. These are all great ways to hear the Word while keeping house, cooking dinner, or playing with my children. I highly recommend them to stay at home mom's looking for more of the Lord. They are all easy to have playing in the background, but I mostly recommend the Prayer Room, because it is free, and also because they are praying Scripture and singing Scripture. It is very powerful to me.
5. Fellowship with People who Provoke
It is so easy to settle into a group of friends who are so similar to myself, people in a similar stage in life. Yet I have found that I have to be very practical about also placing myself in the company of those who will challenge me, provoke me to go deeper with the Lord, or even just keep to the commitments I've made to the Lord.
Sometimes it means finding someone older than you, who can pour into you their years of spiritual wisdom, but sometimes it is just a matter of finding someone who has similar goals as you. I recently have singled out a friend in my current group of friends who is also interested in going deeper in the Lord in 2012. It isn't that my other friends are not interested in going deeper, it is just easier for me to start with just one person to run hard with.
In the past is has also meant being involved in a ministry that puts me in contact with more mature Christians than myself, like the women I worked with in the Prenatal Prayer rooms, or the Healing Team ministry. There is a wealth of spiritual heritage in every church, I am convinced, we just have to put ourselves in the way of its flow!
So hopefully those are all practical, reasonable, and helpful ideas for those looking to go harder and deeper with the Lord in 2012. It is one thing to desire more of the Lord, but it is another to actual try to do it. My desire is to just throw out a few ideas that you can build on or redesign to fit your personal season in life.
And just for good measure, I've throw in a very helpful teaching by Mike Bickle that can also encourage you along these same lines.