Do you want to start having morning devotions, but don't know how to start? If getting to know your Savior is one of your New Year resolutions, I recommend starting with just Seven Minutes with God. The following text is adapted from the tract "7 Minutes With God" or "The Morning Watch" by Robert D. Foster.
Invest the first 30 seconds preparing your heart. Thank Him for the good night of sleep and the opportunities of this new day. "Lord, cleanse my heart so You can speak to me through the Scriptures. Open my heart. Fill my heart. Make my mind alert, my soul active, and my heart responsive. Lord, surround me with Your presence during this time. Amen."
Now take four minutes to read the Bible. Your greatest need is to hear some word from God. Allow the Word to strike fire in your heart. Meet the Author!
One of the Gospels is a good place to begin reading. Start with the Book of Mark. Read consecutively - verse after verse, chapter after chapter. Don't race, but avoid stopping to do a Bible study on some word, thought, or theological problem which presents itself. Read for the pure joy of reading and allowing God to speak - perhaps just 20 verses, or maybe a complete chapter. When you have finished Mark, start the Gospel of John. Soon you'll want to go ahead and read the entire New Testament.
After God has spoken through His Book, then speak to Him - in prayer. You now have two and a half minutes left for fellowship with Him in four areas of prayer that you can remember by the word ACTS.
A - Adoration. This is the purest kind of prayer because it's all for God - there's nothing in it for you. You don't barge into the presence of royalty. You begin with the proper salutation. So worship Him. Tell the Lord that you love Him. Reflect on His greatness, His power, His majesty, and sovereignty!
C - Confession follows. Having seen Him you now want to be sure every sin is cleansed and forsaken. Confession comes from a root word meaning "to agree together with." Apply this to prayer. It means to agree with God. Something happened yesterday you called a slight exaggeration - God calls it a lie! You call it strong language - God calls it swearing. You call it telling the truth about somebody in the church - God calls it gossip. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me" (Psalm 66:18).
T - Thanksgiving. Express your gratitude to God. Think of several specific things to thank Him for: your family, your business, your church and ministry responsibilities - even thank Him for hardships. "In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
S - Supplication. This means to "ask for, earnestly and humbly." This is the part of your prayer life where you make your petitions known to Him. Ask for others, then for yourself. Why not include other people around the world, such as missionaries, students studying abroad, friends in distant places, and above all the people of many lands who have yet to hear about Jesus Christ.
Let's put these seven minutes together:
Prayer for guidance (Psalm 143:8)
Reading the Bible (Psalm 119:18)
2 1/2 min
· Adoration (I Chronicles 29:11)
· Confession (I John 1:9)
· Thanksgiving (Ephesians 5:20)
· Supplication (Matthew 7:7)
7 min total
This is simply a guide. Very soon you will discover that it is impossible to spend only seven minutes with the Lord. An amazing thing happens - seven minutes become 20, and it's not long before you're spending 30 precious minutes with Him. Do not become devoted to the habit, but to the Savior.
Do it not because other men are doing it - not as a spiritless duty every morning, nor merely as an end in itself, but because God has granted the priceless privilege of fellowship with Himself. Covenant with Him now to guard, nourish, and maintain your morning watch of seven minutes.