It was a normal Friday morning of cleaning and piano practice for the Maxwell family. Just before lunch, I sat down to do some computer work. Sarah called everyone to eat, and I jumped up with gusto. Between me and my meal lay the vacuum cleaner which I abruptly crashed into with my bare foot. Immediately I experienced that excruciating pain one has when they clobber a toe into an immobile object. In this case, though, the pain didn’t subside as quickly as normal because my little toe was indeed broken.
This mishap curtailed my ability to walk with Steve in the early mornings after our personal Bible time—a custom we have enjoyed for many years. I sorely missed the exercise my walk afforded me and the talks Steve and I have while walking. However, I gained a wonderful benefit from those extra minutes of being home each morning. I worked at making myself get up with Steve at our normal time, although the temptation was to stay in bed and sleep a bit more. By maintaining my usual schedule, I was able to spend what had been walking time for more Bible reading and prayer. Spending over an hour with the Lord each morning is something I only dream of because generally a half hour a day for my quiet time of Bible reading and prayer has been realistic and workable in my life. That extra time with the Lord each morning for six weeks was just what I needed.
It is not uncommon for a mom to come up to me after a workshop and want to discuss specific difficulties that she is dealing with in her life. After I listen to her problems, I try to make my first question: “Are you having daily, personal time to read your Bible and pray, knowing that is the key and most important starting point?” More often than not the answer will be that she isn’t spending time with the Lord and that she realizes this is what needs to change before anything else will.
I hear over and over again from moms that they struggle with getting up in the morning to spend time with the Lord. Usually there is a reason why she can’t awaken early enough to have Bible reading and prayer. It may be not going to bed at a reasonable hour the night before, a sick child up in the night, a nursing baby, or simply the enjoyment of staying in bed. While it is true that most of these reasons cost us sleep, we also have to make decisions about our use of time based upon our priorities. If we had an important doctor appointment after a late night, we would make ourselves get up so we wouldn’t miss the appointment.
Before Steve and I became serious about our daily, personal Bible reading and prayer time, we had to come to the point of seeing our need for and the value of this time. We would say we wanted to rise early enough to spend time with the Lord, but we were quick to let our many excuses for not getting up give us the freedom to stay in bed.
When I was in the years of pregnancy and nursing babies, I had scheduled a nap in the afternoon. This gave me the security of knowing that if I was really tired from getting up early in the morning, I had time set aside later to take a nap. With a newborn, I would sometimes change my Bible reading and prayer time to early afternoon, although it was not my preference nor did I want to leave it this way for long. Still, I could sleep in the morning and also rest knowing I would have time with the Lord, because it was scheduled for right after the children laid down for their afternoon naps. I believe it is best to have time with the Lord first thing in the morning, but when that isn’t happening, another time that works is better than not having the time at all.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Isn’t this our heart’s desire: that God would thoroughly equip us for every task He has called us to do? This verse tells us that God’s Word is the key to this equipping. It will teach and correct us. Yet, it is easy to say the right thing—that we want God’s grace to direct and help us through our days—but fail to do what we need to do to make it possible for Him.
Psalms 119 is a beautiful chapter showing us the value of Scripture to our daily lives. I challenge you to read through it several times. Let’s look at some of these verses to see how God’s Word meets the needs we are experiencing.
Do we struggle with sin? “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalms 119:11).
Do we need counsel on a difficult area of our lives? “Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors” (Psalms 119:24).
Am I afflicted in some way? “This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me” (Psalms 119:50).
Do I want to be wise and make good decisions? “Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments” (Psalms 119:66). “Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts” (Psalms 119:98-100).
Do I need comforting? “Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant. Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight” (Psalms 119:76-77).
Do I need to know how to make it through a trial? “Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction” (Psalms 119:92).
Do I need direction? “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalms 119:105).
Do I need rest and protection? “Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word. Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God” (Psalms 119:114-115).
I know what it is to be busy, homeschool, have a large family, be pregnant, be nursing a baby, have sick children, and have more to do than there seems available time. Yet I am convinced that there is nothing I could have done with that time I spent each day with the Lord Jesus in Bible reading and prayer that would have been any more beneficial to my life, my husband’s life, my children’s lives, or my homeschooling. I have a dear friend who has gotten up for years in the middle of the night to read her Bible and pray. It is the most consistent, uninterrupted time of day for her. Then she goes back to bed and to sleep. If Bible reading and prayer is truly important to us, we will find time for it and then be disciplined to keep it.
I am convinced that it is the heart cry of homeschooling moms to live in such a way that will honor and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. Plus, we want to guide our children in the paths of righteousness as well. May I challenge each of us that the starting place for this—the place to begin dealing with depression, anger, laziness, impatience, fear, anxiety (I share more about these issues in Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit), and every other need we have—is daily spending time with the Lord. It is likely that the busier we are—and the more we struggle with taking time to read our Bibles and pray—the needier we are for this time. May we each determine, with God’s help, that we will be committed to making Bible reading and prayer as high a priority as eating our meals.