Nobody in their right mind would look to me for advice on how to have a strong, consistent prayer life. All my life, I have struggled with prayer, and I have mostly won. (Think about what that means for a moment. It’s not good!)
But if you could zoom out and look over my life, you could see one thing: The times when I am most at peace and seeking God’s will most often are the times when I was consistently making a morning offering.
This is not a straight “if x, then y” causal connection, of course. It is not magic to make a morning offering. It may even be the other way around: I am more likely to make a morning offering when I’m at a time in my life when I am already feeling connected to God or when I’m already remembering consistently to turn to him to help with hope and trust. One thing I know is that there are not any shortcuts.
Nevertheless, if anyone asked me what was the one thing they could do to start off on a better path spiritually, I would recommend resolving to make a morning offering. It hits that sweet spot: It’s fast and it’s easy, but it takes a small amount of discipline on your part, which signals to you that it is worthwhile. But it also puts the ball in the Holy Spirit’s court, which, well, I am starting to think is the whole entire point of life.
It is also something you can do no matter what your current relationship with God is like. If you’re feeling distant, you can offer up your day as a wistful act of hope, no harm done. If you’re angry, you can do it defiantly: Hey, You! See this sack of garbage you left me with? How about you carry it for a while? [Flings life down at foot of cross with horrible splatting noise.] If you’re feeling lazy, you can do it because it’s quick and easy and better than nothing. If you’re feeling very connected, it can be a beautiful and profound way to begin another day with the Lord. If you’re feeling trusting, you can thank him in advance for whatever is about to come.
The big thing is, you don’t have to be…anything. You don’t have to have particular plans or expectations for your morning offering. It may even be better if you don’t. … Read the rest of my latest for America Magazine.