By Beniboba Princewill
In Stephen Covey’s book First Things First, he explains how often when we create a daily schedule, we try to add things on to our busy schedule without prioritizing what is most important. Covey writes, “The key, however, is not to prioritize your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” He then gives an example to illustrate:
I attended a seminar once where the instructor was lecturing on time. At one point, he said, “Okay, it’s time for a quiz.” He reached under the table and pulled out a wide-mouth gallon jar. He set it on the table next to a platter with some fist-sized rocks on it. “How many of these rocks do you think we can get in the jar?” he asked.
After we made our guess, he said, “Okay. Let’s find out.” He set one rock in the jar . . . then another . . . then another. I don’t remember how many he got in, but he got the jar full. Then he asked, “Is that jar full?”
Everybody looked at the rocks and said, “Yes.”
Then he said, “Ahhh.” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar and the gravel went in all the little spaces left by the big rocks. Then he grinned and said once more, “Is the jar full?”
By this time we were on to him. “Probably not,” we said.
“Good!” he replied. And he reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in and it went in all the little spaces left by the rocks and the gravel. Once more he looked at us and said, “Is the jar full?”
“No!” we all roared.
He said, “Good!” and he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in. He got something like a quart of water in that jar. Then he said, “Well, what’s the point?”
Somebody said, “Well, there are gaps, and if you really work at it, you can always fit more into your life.” “No,” he said, “that’s not the point. The point is this: if you hadn’t put these big rocks in first, would you ever have gotten any of them in?”
The point of the illustration is that if we tried to put the big rocks in last, they wouldn’t have fit. If we sit down to make our daily schedule, write down everything and then try to add prayer, it will never happen. However, if we sit down and schedule prayer first, then we are setting ourselves up for success and we will be able to get a lot more done.
We need to discern what our priorities are in life, schedule those first, and then everything else will fall into place. Too often we make the “sand” or “little rocks” in life more important and that is why we end-up failing when it comes to prayer.
1. Establish Morning and Evening Habits of Prayer
An essential principle that will help you develop a daily prayer routine is to schedule prayer in the morning and evening. I have learned from personal experience that if I don’t pray first thing in the morning, it never happens. I can never rely on the day being the same, as something always comes up. However, the time in morning and evening are like blank slates that typically stay constant.
The key is to make it a habit. We all have daily habits, such as brushing our teeth. We don’t need to think about habits, they simply “happen.” Habits are so ingrained into our daily schedule that if we disrupt a habit, we feel like something is missing.
So when you are deciding when to schedule the “big rocks” of your day, consider putting them in the morning or evening, or both.
The most important part of establishing a schedule of prayer is to be intentional about it. We can’t say to ourselves that we will pray every day and then expect it to happen. We need to be deliberate and make it a priority, putting pen to paper.
“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.” Mark 1:35 (NIV)
2. DON’T PRIORITIZE “DOING” OVER PRAYING
I have to constantly make it a priority just as did Jesus did by not fooling myself into believing that my busyness is necessary for furthering God’s kingdom. It is only through prayer not busyness that God’s power is unleashed.
When life is overwhelming, setting aside time for prayer feels counterintuitive. Surely diving into the work of the day will bring more progress than stepping aside for prayer. Jesus understood the pressure of time. His brief years of ministry were limited, and there were so many people who needed truth, forgiveness, healing. His disciples needed to be taught. The Father’s plan needed to be carried out. Yet He made prayer a priority.
It is only through prayer not busyness that God’s power is unleashed.
As busy as my life might be, I will never carry the weight of responsibility that Jesus did. He came to redeem the entire human race. Yet instead of frantic urgency, He consistently modeled a life of prayer, of retreat, of seeking a quiet place.
Martin Luther said, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” That level of commitment, along with the consistent example of Jesus, inspires me to find my own solitary space and time each day to spend time in prayer.
Faith Step: If your day feels too full, take a risk and schedule some extra prayer first, trusting Jesus to provide what you need for all the other responsibilities.
3. ENJOY THE STILLNESS
In the midst of a busy lifestyle taking the time out to pray can be such a blessing to us spiritually, physically, emotionally and mentally. In a world where the busyness and pressure often leads to people feeling stressed and weary we need to receive from God daily by dwelling in His stillness. There we will receive the healing, strengthening and peace that we need to carry on.
♡ Bible Quote for the Day: Matthew 6:33 KJV, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Beniboba is an accountant but she’s very curious about a lot of things from food, photography, fashion, people , books and most recently…. Her hair.