Psalm 5:3 – “O Lord, in the morning You hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for You and watch”
If you are a church planter reaching the unreached, you are on the front lines of spiritual warfare. While every Christian needs to abide in Jesus, it is critical for those on the front lines of ministry to start their day ensuring they are connected to their only source of power and grace.
As Jesus said in John 15:5, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing”. In Psalm 5:3 God teaches us how to start our day, if we are willing to listen.
Early – “In the morning….”
Our default is to give God our leftovers. In a frantically busy society, we are collectively more stressed out than we’ve ever been. Something’s gotta go, and unfortunately, all too often what goes first is our alone time with God.
This is a fatal decision for church planters (or for any Christian, really).
The best way to ensure you prioritize giving God the firstfruits of your time is by waking up early and spending time with Him before you do anything else.
Andrew Bonar, a disciple of the late Scottish minister Robert Murray McCheyne, wrote, “O brother, pray; in spite of Satan, pray; spend hours in prayer; rather neglect friends than not pray; rather fast, and lose breakfast, dinner, tea, and supper—and sleep too—than not pray.”
No matter how full the calendar gets, the one thing you cannot afford to say “No” to is God. When it comes to advancing the Kingdom of God, whatever work is done that is not started and sustained by dependent prayer is in vain.
Wake up and give God the very first part of your day.
Entreating – “You hear my voice”
To entreat God for help in the morning means to acknowledge we truly can do “nothing” apart from Jesus (John 15:5). God is honoured by child-like prayers of dependency.
In fact, He said that it is only those who become like little children who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. You don’t graduate from being like a child once you plant a church or become a pastor. Being like a child is not something we only do when we first come to Christ.
Being like a child is a perpetual state of dependency on King Jesus for everything. When we start our day by humbling ourselves in total dependence upon Jesus, God is pleased and He hears our voice.
Exalting – “I prepare a sacrifice for You…”
We make God look great when we surrender ourselves to Him in sacrifice. Romans 12:1 says, “I appeal to you brothers…. Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship”. Who has lordship over your eyes today? Your ears? Your feet?
The man who led me to Christ, Joshua Harris (No, not the one who wrote the dating book), always exhorted me to surrender my body and my day to Jesus before my feet even touched the ground. Roll out of bed and onto your knees.
This is what it looks like to prepare a sacrifice for God each morning. Paul said he was like a “jar of clay” carrying around a precious treasure, the Gospel (2 Cor. 4:7). There is nothing more important you can do than to fully surrender your body and will to God each morning.
There is no limit to what God can do through a vessel that is emptied of self and offered completely to Him, but God can do little with a vessel that holds part of itself back from Him.
Expecting – “...and watch”
I love that last word in this passage, “Watch”. David wasn’t just checking off his quiet time box when he got up early to meet with God. He got up to worship and talk to God, and he expected God to answer.
What about you? Do you actually believe God wants to intervene in your life? Do you believe your prayers can actually affect the day to day happenings in your church plant?
Prayer isn’t something you need to do before you get to the important stuff in your day. Prayer IS the important stuff in your day. God can do in one minute what could take you and I an entire lifetime!
Jesus says in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and you will receive”. This is an open invitation from God to ask Him to do what only He can do in your life and ministry. But it is conditional. It is conditional upon you taking Him at His word and then asking.
What have you been tirelessly working on or fretting about for some time that you need to start asking God to do?
Perhaps it’s a wayward new believer you are trying to keep interested in God, or maybe it’s a hard conversation you’ve been avoiding because you are trying to “keep the peace”.
It could even be that you’ve stopped relying on the Holy Spirit to save people and you’ve started relying on money or events or even your sermon illustrations to rope people in.
That’s exhausting, and God never put that on your shoulders. You put it there. It’s time to take it off.
So tomorrow morning, wake up early, ask God to help you in your weakness, surrender yourself fully to His will, and then wait for Him to respond.
Then you’ll be ready for a day of ministry.