Personal Growth

The First 30 Seconds of Your Day

by John Pate

early morning sunrise

My children have an interesting morning routine. Before their eyelids even open and the fog of sleep has lifted—they yell. It’s very interesting. Sometimes, it’s a friendly yell, and sometimes it’s a cry of anguish. Sometimes, it’s at 7 AM. Sometimes, it’s much, much earlier.

Typically the content of the yell is the same: “DADDY!!!!”

It’s a bit unnerving at times, particularly if I’m not quite awake yet. Once I arrive at their bedside, they will proceed to tell me about the last couple seconds of their dream or they’ll make sure that I know this is a morning we are NOT having eggs. Or they want me to know that they are just too tired, and they’d like to stay in their bed. (Yes, you and me both!)

There have been times when I’ve found myself a little frustrated by this routine. I wish they knew they don’t have to start their day by yelling my name. They can just crawl out of bed and yawn their way to the breakfast table, and we won’t even have to talk about it!

A Good Instinct

But, I have begun to realize that my kids are on to something. It’s actually a pretty good instinct. Before they start their day, before anything goes wrong, they need to talk to their dad.

And the same goes for you and me. It’s easy for dads to roll out of bed and stumble toward the mountain of tasks and problems that await us without asking our heavenly Father for help.

Perhaps we would do well to start our day by yelling, “DADDY!!!!”

In fact, God longs for us to do this! He is not frustrated by early morning cries. When Jesus (who knows the Father quite well) was instructing His disciples in prayer, He told them to begin with “Father…” (Luke 11:2). Just let that sink in for a second. God is inviting you to call Him your Father. He wants you to do it early, and He wants you to do it often (1 Thess. 5:18). Unlike human fathers, He is not annoyed by our persistence. He welcomes it! (See Luke 11:5–13.)

Early Morning Cries

In the Psalms we find that early morning was primetime for fervent prayer. Take a moment to read through these heartfelt cries:

Psalm 5:3

O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.

Psalm 59:16

But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.

Psalm 88:13

But I, O LORD, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.

Psalm 90:14

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Psalm 92:1–2

It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night,

Even Jesus, God Incarnate, did this.

Mark 1:35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.

Here’s the truth. If we try to conquer the challenges of a day equipped only with our own resources and a stiff cup of coffee, we will fail. He said so Himself: “Apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Only by seeking His face and abiding in Him can we “bear much fruit.”

A 30 Day Challenge

So how do we do this?

When I was in high school, I was encouraged to learn to start each day with God, to take a few moments to acknowledge him and ask for His grace before getting out of bed. Interestingly, I was much more faithful at that practice when the pressures and cares in my life were minimal. Now that the stakes are high and life is a whirlwind, it is much easier to neglect this important routine.

So here’s a challenge. For the next thirty days, aim to spend thirty seconds in prayer the moment you wake up. If a child happens to wake you up, go ahead and pray with them!

I would encourage you to pray what is on your heart, but here is an idea for the kind of prayer you might pray.

“Father, as I begin this day, I come to you because you are good and I need you. You have blessed me in more ways than I can count, so I begin this day by acknowledging and blessing you.

Because you are my Creator, help me to glorify you in everything I do and say today.

Because you are my God, help me to love you with all my heart, soul, mind and strength today.

Because you are my King, help me to seek first the kingdom of God today.

Because you are my Father, help me to come to you in time of need today.

Because you are my Savior, I now present my body as a living sacrifice to you.

You made this day and planned everything in it, so help me “rejoice and be glad in it”—no matter what unexpected circumstances I face.

I pray this through the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen

Don’t ever forget that your Father wants you to come before Him. Through the finished work of Jesus, He is calling you to “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb. 10:22). You can do this anywhere! You can even do this in your bed.

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