Start Your Day with Prayer

I stumbled upon this quote a little while ago and it really spoke to me so I had to put some words down about it.  This is attributed to Martin Luther, if it was actually said by him, I don’t know…..but the quote has a lot of truth to it that it’s worthwhile looking at it.

Tomorrow I plan to work, work, from early until late. In fact I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.
—Martin Luther

I struggle at times keeping a consistent prayer life, but that mostly stems from me just being too lazy some days.   This quote from Luther shows how important it is to him.  Even though his day was filled from start to finish, prayer was so important to his day that he was going to spend that much time doing it before he even got started.

Start your day with God on the mind

In our fast paced world, could you imagine spending three hours in prayer first thing.  But, do you even spend 5 minutes in prayer?  Do we just wake up first thing and tell God “Thank you”?  Couldn’t we find the time to simply thank the God that created us?  How many of us can find the extra time on the way to work to go get a cup of coffee, but can’t spend two minutes in prayer?

I’m as guilty as I’m sure many are…..when I start my day with God on my mind, I find that my day usually goes pretty well.  And if I have a rough day, I’m able to get through it knowing that I’ve included God from the very start.

Include God in your day

Another thing I find helps me a lot, is to make sure I include God throughout my entire day.  I thank Him for a safe drive to work.  I thank Him for helping me solve a tricky problem.  I ask Him for wisdom and patience when I’m dealing with something that isn’t going correct.  I thank Him for bringing my family back together in the evening.  In fact I just thanked Him for helping me by giving me the words for this post.

If you include God and ask God to be part of every day, then He becomes an active part of your life and you can’t help but to feel his presence in your day.

Pray together

Neither my wife and I are much for public out-loud prayer.  We have found that it’s been helpful and greatly strengthens our marriage when we pray together.  We are by no means consistent with it, but as we strive to get better and start our day by praying together, I have found that not only is God active in our daily activities….but we just invited him into our marriage!  And to see God move in a relationship like that is amazing.  It’s one of the best things we’ve done as a couple for our relationship.

End your day with God

This sometimes is the easiest to do.  Since childhood, we’ve been trained to say our goodnight prayers.  How many of us have had, since our earliest memories prayed as we lay down to sleep.  That is one area, where I’ve been the most consistent throughout my life.  There are times, I may not even finish my prayer as I fall asleep, yet I know that my last thought was a conversation with God.  I can reflect over my day with Him, I can ask for guidance for the next day….but most importantly for me is that it gives me a peace of mind through out the night that God is working in me even as I sleep.

His Thoughts are Above Our Thoughts

As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, I’m re-reading through Power Thoughts by Joyce Meyer.  I’m not even out of the introduction  yet and I’m finding some powerful stuff.   On page 5 of her book, she says:

Our minds must go through a process of renewal in order to experience God’s plan for us. His thoughts are above our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8,9), so in order to walk with him and experience His good plans for our lives, we must learn to think as He thinks. (Romans 12:2)

Let’s look at those scriptures for a moment.

“My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the Lord, “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.  For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher that your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”  – Isaiah 55:8,9

We can’t hope to understand what God has planned for us.  He sees the big picture where we are just given a little slice of it and even that slice is often tainted with how we think the picture should look.   We can though, trust that that great plan that God has, is awesome.  It is powerful, it is perhaps so complex and far reaching that we can never understand.  But I believe that each and every one of us is an important cog in that wheel.  God has it all laid out and we can trust that it is good.  We are foolish to try and fit God into our mold.  We must strive to fit into his plans , because we are a part of them.

We can learn to think as he thinks.

The great promise is that God wants to transform us so that we can think the way He thinks.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.  -Romans 12:2

Joyce say’s it is impossible to change our lives unless and until we change our thoughts.  You have the ability to control your thoughts and choose what you want to think.  The enemy uses our thoughts to control us and keep us from God’s will.

How do we become transformed?

While I’m no pastor, I’m just a Christian family man trying to become transformed myself so that I more fully know God’s plan for myself, i do believe that the best way to become transformed and to think like God thinks and to protect us from those negative thoughts that the enemy puts in our heads, is to full study God’s word.  I’m guilty of not spending as much time as I should in in His word, but even 5-10 minutes a day is a good positive way to grow.  If you read perhaps just that one verse of scripture, with the prayer to fully understand what God is trying to tell me in that scripture, I believe that God will begin to reveal it to you.

“The mind is the battlefield,” as Joyce puts it, “the place where we win or lose, where we become victors or victims in life….It is the battlefield where we make decisions that lead to frustration and defeat or to strength, health, joy, peace and abundance.”

Here are some other posts in this series talking about Joyce Meyers book Power Thoughts

Power Thoughts – Winning the Battle of the Mind

Power Thoughts by Joyce Meyer
Power Thoughts by Joyce Meyer

Back in late 2010 and early 2011, I wrote a few posts here on this blog as I was reading through a book my wife had on the shelf, Power Thoughts: 12 Strategies to Win the Battle of the Mind by Joyce Meyer.  I remember it being quite a life-changing book for me back then.  As in most things, life goes in cycles and I feel life is cycling back to the point where refreshing myself on this book is worthwhile.  As I was perusing through the book again this morning, I recalled how powerful the ideas in this book and the scriptures that are pointed to truly are.  And I’ve realized how much I’ve forgotten or neglected to follow.

One of my favorite quotes from this  book actually comes from the introduction of this book.

Where the mind goes, the man follows.

How true that is.  Our thoughts are often self-fulfilling.   If we think we are a failure in some aspect of our lives, we often become one.  We believe we are not good at something so perhaps we don’t try hard enough or work hard enough at something.  When you can change that attitude the energy changes and you often succeed where you may have failed otherwise.

Links to past posts

  1. We are what we think
  2. The Power of Positive Thoughts
  3. Thoughts are Powerful

Maybe I’ll post some more in this series of articles but I won’t promise anything, but I do recommend getting this book (Amazon link) and having your Bible handy as you read it through as there are plenty of Biblical references throughout.

I can say that after I read this book initially, I was winning the battle of the mind.  This book and the scripture involved helped me through some tough times….but as a lot of things, you have to keep strong and diligent in fighting that battle or old habits may sneak back into your life.  I’m finding that this is not just a book to read and forget, but one that you can reference back to over and over.

 

Eat that Elephant One Bite at a Time

I love that saying, “How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time!”  Many of has probably heard that many times over our lives, but do we apply it’s meaning to our lives?  It’s easy to get caught up and overwhelmed with the big picture.  We see the elephant and say, I’ll never be able to eat all that!  When faced with a large, overwhelming problem…one that you can’t see a solution, it’s best to break it down into manageable chunks and take care of each one, one at a time.

Break your big goals down

When we set big goals, the can seem unachievable and we may become discouraged.   Let’s say your goal is to become debt free.  Well it’s unlikely you’ll be able to pay it all off at once…so you start with one bill at a time.  Pay off something, then put those resources into the next one, and so on.  That doesn’t seem so hard does it?   Lets say you want to write the next great novel.  It may seem overwhelming….but start writing, one word, then one sentence, then the next…before you know it you have a paragraph….then enough paragraphs to fill a chapter…then enough chapters to fill a novel.  Seems doable that way.  I know I’m oversimplifying it greatly, but it really is that easy.  The great novelists didn’t just wave their hands and the novel appeared….they wrote it one word at a time.

Small goals are your friends

I like the concept of smaller goals.  They are your friend and have so many benefits.  When you break a large task into smaller tasks and large goals into smaller ones, as you mark those small tasks off your list, you are not only moving forward and moving towards accomplishing your goal, but also giving yourself a sense of accomplishment as you mark each one off.  Not only are you continually moving forward, you are providing yourself with positive reinforcement to continue to completion.

So my advice to you (and really to me as I have trouble sometimes following my own advice), take that elephant that your facing whatever it may be….and eat it one bite at a time.

What can you do with tomorrow?

What can you do with tomorrow? A friend of mine posted this on Google+ the other day and it really resonated with me.

Tomorrow – What can you do with tomorrow?  Can you change your life?  Can you tell someone you love them?  Can you pursue your dreams?  Yep!  Do something amazing with your tomorrow…

Yesterday is over, today is here and will be gone soon, but tomorrow….tomorrow is what we hope for, a new tomorrow, a new start, a new day.  Why not start tomorrow to pursue your dreams, do something amazing for someone,   Tell your loved ones you love them, over and over again.  Been waiting to start something, tomorrow may be the perfect day to start something that can change your life.  Why not start tomorrow, one small step, moving forward and sharing your love with others.

 

God Offers Comfort to All

All of us go through troubles of one sort or another.  Perhaps it’s financial, perhaps health, perhaps it’s a temptation that you struggle with….or perhaps a combination of all of those and many I’ve not mentioned.  We all have things that trouble us, that give us stress, that are not as we had planned.  Often we turn to God and say “why me?”  And this is a valid question to ask of God.  We can be stretched to our limits of what we can withstand and we can be crying out “Why?”, “Please God deliver us from this.”

I think you out to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia.  We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and we thought we would never live through it.  In fact, we expected to die.  But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead.  And he did deliver us from mortal danger.  And we are confident that he will continue to deliver us.   – 2 Corinthians 1:8-10

This passage from 2 Corinthians shows us that God can deliver us from the darkest of circumstances.  He can raise people from the dead so he can surely deliver us from our situation.

When I look back on my life, I see that as troubles come I tend to turn towards God for comfort and deliverance.  I also see that God has seen me through so many things, sometimes in ways I never would have imagined, but were so much better than the path I had laid out.  However what invariably happens, as life gets easier and my troubles are behind me, I begin to rely less and less on God and more on myself and my own plans….and then trouble strikes again and right back I am trusting and relying on God.  However each time we go through trials, I do realize that I am powerless without him and I have a constant need for him in my life, in good times and in troubles.  God is our source of power and we receive his help by staying in contact with him.  In other words I need to learn to rely on Him every day.

So where does the comfort come in?

Comfort for me comes in remembering that God is always with us, God has delivered me from so many things and our God is a God of second, third, fourth, ….. chances.

Comfort comes knowing that the suffering we endure ultimately makes us stronger, perhaps not in ways we expect, but it does.

Comfort comes from knowing that what we go through and how God brings us through it can bring comfort to others that face similar situations.

For when God comforts us, it is so that we, in turn, can be an encouragement to you.  Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer.  We are confident that as you share in suffering, you will also share God’s comfort.  – 2 Corinthians 1:6-7

Comfort is knowing, that no matter the situation, God’s plan is mighty, God’s plan is perfect.

While I won’t air out any specifics of my troubles as we all have them, I always appreciate your prayers, as I will be praying for all of you out there.  I’m also not afraid to share my troubles if asked, not to burden others or look for pity, but hopefully to provide comfort to you as you endure your troubles.  So if anyone needs to talk, I’m here to listen and share.

What Motivates You?

What motivates you?  What gets you out of bed in the morning and gets you going each and every day?  When I interview new potential employees, this is one my favorite questions I like to ask.  I like to see what motivates each person to get up, get their shoes on and come to work.  For some, it’s just a job.  For others, they actually like the work.  It’s fulfilling or challenging or whatever, but they genuinely like to do what they do.  For the most part, everyone has always given a good answer, really there isn’t a wrong answer (maybe some better than others), but what got me thinking the other day was what motivates me.

I do enjoy my job, I enjoy the work I do, the challenge of the what I do and helping our clients succeed.  But outside of work, what really motivates me?  It’s something to think about.  I think many of us go through the motions of life….work, home, family events, repeat….and those are the exciting days.  As I tend to do from time to time, I like to reevaluate my life and what I’m doing and where I’m going….and now I’m looking at my motivations.

  • My family.  I am motivated everyday to be with my family.  My four children and my awesome wife always make me wake with a smile on my face (at least on the inside).  I enjoy spending time with them and I’m motivated to be the best father / husband I can be.  Everything else I do, I do for them.  They are my motivation.
  • My job.  As I mentioned above, my job brings great motivation, not only for the obvious earnings that I make and giving me the ability to provide for my family…but it challenges me intellectually, and the joy of doing a job well done for a client and that I’ve made a difference in someone elses work is a great feeling.
  • Perhaps most importantly, my faith.  I’m motivated everyday to wake up with a song in my heart and a smile on my face…..doesn’t happen everyday…but I try.  I try to go about my day each day as if God was right there with me…..because he is……remembering that keeps me focused on my goals, keeps me moving to where God is and looking for his gentle guidance to lead me to where he wants me to be.  The excitement of knowing that God is always working in my life is a great motivation each day.

Motivation is a powerful force in your life that keeps you moving.  Find something that motivates you and get’s you excited to get out of bed, no matter what it may be and you’ll wake up with a smile on your face.