THE MOST IMPORTANT TEN MINUTES OF THE DAY by Mark Batterson
The most important ten minutes of my day are the ten minutes I spend with my kids right before they leave for school. For many years, I felt like a failure when it came to leading my family in devotions. I could never seem to find a rhythm or a routine. It felt like one failed attempt after another.
Then, the week before Parker started high school, Lora and I were on our Monday morning coffee date. Since I preach on Sundays, Monday is our Sabbath. We talk about our marriage, our kids, our calendar, and our finances.
During the course of this particular conversation, I confessed my feeling of failure — and that’s when Lora shared something her dad did, which I decided to adopt. My father-in-law prayed with more intensity and more consistency than anybody I’ve ever known. He prayed about everything. In fact, when I asked him if I could marry his daughter, he literally said, “Let me pray about it.” That’ll put the fear of God in you! Especially when he didn’t check back in for a week!
My father-in-law was extraordinarily busy pasturing the church he founded in Naperville, Illinois, but he found time to do devotions with his four children every day before school. In the spirit of full disclosure, the teenaged Lora didn’t always enjoy those devotions. What teenager does? But more than a decade after her dad’s death, those times they spent together are treasured memories. Those devotions were a daily touch point with her dad.
One of the great challenges with family devotions is finding a consistent time and place to pray together. It’s not easy when your kids are playing soccer, taking piano lessons, participating in a school club, and taking swim lessons. And that’s probably just one of your children! So how do you find a rhythm? I think it starts with looking at your daily routines. It makes sense to pray with your young children before bed because you tuck them in every night. With older children, it’s more difficult because they probably will be staying up later than you do.
When Lora shared the story about morning devotions with her dad, it was a revelation. I knew I needed to leverage the first few minutes of the day before the day got away from me. So beginning on Parker’s first day of high school, I started reading the Bible and praying with him. Does every devotional time seem like a success? Hardly. Are there days when we’re running late and have to scoot out of the house? Absolutely.
But I’m determined to have a daily devotion with my children, and this touch point is the most important ten minutes of my day. It’s the most important meeting of the day. Why? Because I love my children so much more than anybody I’ll meet with the rest of the day. And while every devotional time doesn’t result in an epiphany, some of those touch points have turned into turning points.
Your children need to see and hear you praying. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in a prayer closet or a prayer chair. You can turn your commute or your workout into prayer times. When you make their beds or fold their clothes, pray for them. Go into their bedrooms while they’re sleeping, kneel next to their beds, and pray over them.
You don’t become a praying parent by default. You do it by design, by desire, by discipline. Spiritual disciplines take sheer determination, but if you determine to circle your children in prayer, you will shape their destinies. Your prayers will live on in their lives long after you die. Your prayers for your children are the greatest legacy you can leave.
Batterson, Mark (2012-07-17). Praying Circles around Your Children (p. 18). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
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