” And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. “
– Ephesians 6:18 NIV
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The routine of eating a nourishing meal early on will give you the energy you need to get you through the day. I have found that establishing other routines in the morning before the kids get up and I go to school are just as important. I have been doing these three routines for the past few weeks and I am seeing a huge shift in my mindset, energy, and outlook for the entire day. The best thing that it only takes 15 minutes!
I heard this 15 minute morning routine in an interview with Dr. Josh Axe, author of numerous books for those looking to take control of their health. Dr. Axe likened this routine to a triathlon. He used to participate in many triathlons (which is something that I will probably never do). In a triathlon, you need to prepare to swim, cycle, and after all of that, you have to run as fast as you can to the finish line. Each of these events require training and use different muscle groups to perform. In order to be great at a triathlon (or even finish in my case), you must consistently train and be disciplined in all three areas or one will suffer.
The three areas that we will look at today only take 5 minutes for a total of 15 minutes. Let’s take a look at each one and how they can set up your day for success no matter what is thrown at you.
Gratitude- 5 Minutes
Research has shown that people who consistently practice gratitude are less depressed, and tend to be much happier. According to Greater Good Magazine, showing gratitude “unshackles us” from toxic emotions, and has positive lasting impacts on the brain. For the past few weeks, the moment I wake up, I spend the next five minutes expressing gratitude. I don’t necessarily say it out loud, but I think of people and circumstances for which I am grateful for in my life. Some examples to get you started could be:
I am grateful for:
- Being alive and the ability to do work today
- Having a warm place to sleep during these cold months
- My wife and children
- The school and colleagues with whom I work with each day
- My extended family and their positive impact in my life
You could probably go on and on, but these are a few to get started. Doing this right away when I wake up has given me a great appreciation for what is around me.
Read with a Purpose – 5 Minutes
After spending some time in gratitude, the next part of the triathlon is reading with a purpose. One of my goals for this year is to read more of God’s word as well as work through a devotional. If you know of any sportsman out there, I would recommend Faith Afield, A Sportsman’s Devotional by Steven Scott.
You might choose something else to read, but pick something that will challenge you to be the best person that you can be. A lot of the time when I read, I am often distracted by other thoughts, especially later in the day. I have found that early in the morning I can be more focused on God’s word and what He is wanting me to pay attention each day.
Prayer Requests and/or Meditation – 5 Minutes
The last few weeks that I have been doing this, I have found that I have gone over the 5 minute mark. The amount of peace though that comes with letting go of my burdens, concerns, and praying for others is certainly worth the extra time. My prayer requests usually start with myself and what I am going through, and then I move through requests for my immediate family. From there, I expand my prayer requests to neighbors, friends, colleagues, students, etc.
Prayer and/or mediation is powerful and can help with our healing. Just the act of prayer and mediation has been proven to lower blood pressure and stress in the body. The article, Power of Prayer: What Happens to Your Brain When You Pray? featured by NBC news shows some of the scientific research of prayer and meditation on the body. Spending 5 minutes in prayer and/or meditation each day is a great way help strengthen your spiritual and physical health.
A Sure Fire Way to Start the Day
I think we can all agree that we could find 15 minutes each morning to spend on something that will transform our day. I must say that I do need to get up a little earlier in the morning, but that is because I am trying to get in some exercise in the morning as well for 20-30 minutes. This new routine of gratitude, purposeful reading, and prayer requests along with exercise has helped give me the confidence to handle anything that comes my way. It is my hope that you find your mornings being transformed as you prepare for each day.