Are you ready to make every morning absolutly amazing?! Then you are in the right place. AM-azing Mornings: the no-pressure plan for spending time with Jesus every morning will lead you into a powerful habit of renewing your mind and aligning your thoughts, day and future with God’s agenda.
If you are anything like me, you may have found that starting your day in a positive frame of mind has become more and more difficult over the past year. With so much going on in the world and in our worlds, the pressure can make us want to retreat and hide, or at least stay in bed as long as possible before having to face another day! I sense the Holy Spirit really wanting to download a powerful strategy for us, one that is timely and very important to what God wants to do right now.
The truth is, how we choose to manage our mornings makes a huge difference in our mental, emotional and spiritual state when dealing with challenges. (I know, SO obvious!) But, it’s not surprising that with all that 2020 brought, and the unrest we are still facing in 2021, it’s even more crucial—and difficult—to keep our heads in the right space. As we navigate significant transition and challenging circumstances, we need to find ways to keep our heads and our hearts in alignment with God’s perspective and purposes.
I love Colossians 3:2 in the Passion Translation where Paul exhorts us to: feast on all the treasures of the heavenly realm and fill your thoughts with heavenly realities, and not with the distractions of the natural realm.
And in Romans 12: 1-2 where it reminds us to: be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.
Are you convinced? I hope so! I believe most of us have some morning routines that include reading, praying maybe some devotional or meditation time. What I want to show you is a fresh and effective way to take one hour in your morning and set a positive tone for your day that will impact every part of your life and relationships. That’s a big statement I know, but I believe it. I’ve seen it in my own life.
I’ve learned that if I can keep my mornings on track, I have a much better shot at having a peaceful, focused and productive day. Over the years, I’ve discovered a series of steps that help me stay focused on him in the morning and have taught me how to hear him clearly no matter what I’m feeling or processing.
How can I be so sure?
Well, this is something I’ve worked at for a long time! I have learned how to experience his presence in a real and impactful way. I discovered how to make his word come alive, how to hear his voice clearly and how to talk to him about anything. I am passionate to help women live from a place of intimacy where encounters with God actually change their lives. If you are ready to take your spiritual life to a whole different place, then let’s get started!
The process I’m going to share with you is what I have personally followed for a while. Unlike many prayer formulas or BIble reading plans, this plan leads you through a variety of steps designed to help you experience God’s presence, hear his voice in specific and meaningful ways and make the Bible come alive unlike a typical Bible reading program.
Inspired by Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning teaching, this plan includes 6 steps you can do in the span of an hour (or more depending on your schedule). This model provides daily consistency but allows great flexibility to follow the Holy Spirit each morning.
Here are the 5 Steps for an AM-azing morning:
- Be Awake & Aware
- Align Agenda
**While these 5 steps provide a grounded approach to spiritual growth, please resist making these rules you have to follow or laws you have to keep! What’s perfect about this plan is that following the 5 steps actually gives you flexibility! Some days you may go in a different order, you may start with Absorb and end with Affirmations. Or you may spend so much time Abiding that you skip one of the other steps. The important thing is to learn to hear the Holy Spirit and allow yourself absolute freedom to incorporate the steps so they work for you and your lifestyle. Maybe you have 30 minutes instead of 60, change the times accordingly. If you have 2 hours instead of one, stretch them. The important thing it to usually cover all steps in about an hour, as the process is built upon these specific actions for very specific reasons.
As I said, these steps are not to become some religious, legalistic practice. Time with Jesus should flow out of a heart of gratitude and desire, not obligation or fear. The last thing I want is to lay some heavy burden on you, my friend! Religion does enough of that already!
Some of my favorite verses in the Bible are Matthew 11:28-30. Listen to them in the Passion Translation: Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.
No heavy burdens here! Only refreshment, life and rest. And did you see the part where Jesus says he is “easy to please”? Let that sink in! We are not introducing these habits in order to please Jesus or earn his love or approval. Romans 8:1 says, There is NO condemnation for those who are in Christ. In other words, we come to him in a completely free state, fully accepted, chosen and loved. He looks forward to spending time with you every day. As we learn to approach our mornings with this perspective, things can change pretty quickly!
If you were committing an hour in the morning, here’s what that would look like: Let’s say you wake up at 5 am. The first step can begin as soon as you are “awake and aware.” For some, that may mean laying in bed just being aware of God’s presence, his love and grace, of something you are thankful for for the first 5-10 minutes of your day. Let the fact that you are awake be the trigger to become aware of your relationship with him and the fact that even before you woke up, he was already thinking about you; in fact the Word says he was already interceding for you! Think about that first thing in the morning and try to be anything but excited and optimistic for your day! Then you might get up, make coffee or your morning drink of choice and find a private, comfortable place to sit. Now you are ready to begin the rest of the process. You can now walk through the steps one at a time, spending your allotted time on each one. Abiding in him flows into verballyactivating your faith through affirmations and prayer. Absorbing something positive and uplifting may flow into writing in your journal. Then you are ready for the last step which is to align your agenda with the Holy Spirit.
In a little over an hour, you have put yourself in the right mindset and posture to go through the day totally connected with Jesus, confident you are on his agenda and fulfilling his purpose for yourday. As I said, some days you may linger longer in one area or you may have more or less time to invest. As you get used to the flow and rhythm of this process, it will become very fulfilling and very simple to maintain.
Let’s dig in a little deeper on each step…
Practice #1: Awake and Aware.
Ok. This may sound so obvious! Maybe you are thinking, I downloaded this guide and it tells me the first thing I need to do is wake up? Yep. But I don’t just mean to wake up physically. I mean to be “awake” to the possibility and potential of the day and wake up fully aware of how awesome God is and how amazing you are in him! If you are like me, some days this takes work!
It’s important to start your day with intention. If you just wake up and start running, you may miss out on something valuable the Lord wants to share with you or something he wants to talk over with you. Like anything else important, it’s good to actually schedule time on the calendar or in your planner so you will be accountable to that intention. So start your morning awake and aware of God’s presence and his promises and you will be off to a great start.
Practice #2: Abide(Focus on Jesus)
To abide simply meant to set our focus and attention on him. Time spent abiding builds on your intentions and awareness, and also brings you into a quiet state of just being with your Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Take time to focus on your union Jesus and his unconditional love for you. You might want to read a Psalm out loud or do meditation exercises.
This is the time to fully focus on him, quiet our minds and thoughts and give him first place. You can pray if you feel lead, but I find being quiet and just breathing in his presence is often a better place to begin. If you struggle with focus, reading a short devotion or meditation and then just sitting with that can be helpful to really center in on him. (I personally read The Divine Romance most mornings. I know many women enjoy the Jesus Calling series by Sarah Young as well. Just be sure they are short and reflective, so as not to distract or set your mind into study mode instead of abiding.)
#3: Activate (Put your faith to work)
This may be the most important part of the morning routine. This is where you get your mind (and your mouth) to agree with God’s perspective. This practice pushes you out of your own thoughts (and emotions) and reframes your expectations and focus for the day.
This doesn’t have to be complicated at all! It can be as simple as reading several scriptures out loud (preferably in the present, personal tense). For example, you might read Ephesians 2:10 like this: I am his poetry, re-created to fulfill the destiny he has given me, for I am joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before I was born, God planned in advance my destiny and the good works I would do to fulfill it!
Or you may have a vision statement or other affirmations that encourage you. The point is to verbally (and boldly) activate these things and renew your mind to the truth of who you are in Christ.
(I could spend so much time here, but for the sake of time, let’s leave it here. If you want more ideas or need help in this area, please reach out! I have other resources I can send you.)
#4: Absorb (Positive Input)
Ok, the next step for your AM-azing morning ritual is to spend a few minutes reading. No, not the latest romance novel or mystery you are reading…I mean something challenging, positive and inspirational. You may choose to start with your Bible, maybe reading a Psalm or Proverb each day or front he Gospels or Epistles. I’m not a huge fan of typical Bible Reading Plans, but if that works for you and you find the process life-giving then I say, stick with it! Other reading may be the latest Christian book you are reading, but it could also be something more “self-help” or mindset focused. Honestly, God is speaking to me very powerfully through some secular books and authors right now, so don’t limit yourself! (Again, if you want some recommendations, let me know.)
This can be a tough step as your mind is probably racing into the day, but it is so good to just sit quietly for a few minutes and let your mind relax and absorb. Sometimes this leads to longer reading and study for me, but I never begrudge that. I appreciate how God wants to speak to me and help me grow in every area!
Another aspect of the absorption step is journaling. For me, journaling often flows out of something I read or something that came up in the Activate step that I want to record. If you aren’t a journaler, don’t stress out. But I would encourage you to consider how you might include journaling into your morning routine. There are digital options if you struggle with handwriting or you can use a dictation tool. However, the actual writing process may be helpful in listening to what’s going on in your heart or what God might be speaking to you.
#5: Align & Agenda (Command your day)
Ok, our last step. Don’t skip this one, please. I know you may feel like you have no control over your day or the ability to “command your day,” but the reality is, you are actually in control of your schedule. Everything currently planned for you is there because you agreed in some form or another. So the first thing you may need to do is adjust your attitude and maybe even your schedule.
If you are feeling dread or concern about something, talk to the Lord about it. Surrender your schedule, your task list and everything on your agenda. Ask Holy Spirit to order your day, to add to it or remove whatever is not aligned with his plan and purpose for your day. Often, I ask for him to clear meetings or even appointments if I’m overbooked, and it’s amazing how many times things get cancelled or rescheduled!
This step is based on John 5:30 in the Voice Translation. This is Jesus speaking: I have not ever acted, and will not in the future act, on My own. I listen to the directions of the One who sent Me and act on these divine instructions. For this reason, My judgment is always fair and never self-serving. I’m committed to pursuing God’s agenda and not My own. If this is how Jesus lived, I think it can work for us, too!
The other verse I like here is Philippians 2:13: God will continually revitalize you, implanting within you the passion to do what pleases him.
As we approach our day with this attitude, we are way more likely to end up feeling peaceful and fulfilled at the end of the day. Maybe you are thinking, “Does God really care (or really take the time) to be intimately involved in the details of my day?” I get it. But think about it, our days make up our lives, don’t they? So if he cares about the outcome of our lives, he must care about the day-to-day details! He also cares about our heart condition and perspectives. As we give him access to every area, he is free to bring things into focus and release his plan and purpose for us, one day at a time.
I’d love your feedback, friends! Let us know how it goes and what God show you through the Am-azing Morning plan!