Failing to spend time with God throughout the day, every day “is a foolish punt of our rights as children of God.”
That’s according to Matt Chandler, pastor of the Village Church who intentionally organizes his day, week, month and year around specific goals for meeting with and celebrating God.
In this video Chandler reveals his “rule of life” for a day, but quickly adds that his schedule is inconsistent and messy.
Chandler arises at 5:00 am and reads his Bible for the next hour. He said there’s nothing magic about that time. He gets up at 5:00 because his children awake at 6:00 and he finds it impossible to read and study until “my kids start eating like human beings.” He jokingly said he can’t read his Bible while his children are slurping cereal– “It does something weird to my soul.”
For the next hour or so he helps get his kids ready for their day and then leaves for the office. On the short drive to the church he prays through his calendar. He asks God for supernatural wisdom to be able to see possibilities and problems in every meeting and plan.
His schedule is designed to allow a 10 minute gap between each meeting or task to allow him to pray about the next duty and to orient his heart around the need for God to be involved. Chandler said the respite helps prevent his day from “cascading out of control.”
Before he leaves for lunch Chandler reads a chapter from the book “Valley of Vision” a collection of Puritan prayers and meditations. He also prayers for who will be joining him at lunch. On way back to the office he prays about his afternoon schedule.
Chandler calls his preparation to leave for the day one of the most important periods. He said it’s easy for him to be frustrated by goals that weren’t achieved and he doesn’t want to take that frustration home to his family, so he takes stock of his heart and realizes that the task undone will be there when he returns. The realization allows him to focus on responsibilities as husband and father.
At bedtime, he recounts how God heard his prayers and answered them and reminds himself that nothing he did that day affects God’s love for him.
On Wednesday’s, Chandler fasts from breakfast and lunch. He said the hunger is a reminder that he desires fellowship with God more than food.
Once a week the family has devotions, but like his daily schedule, the time tends to be inconsistent and messy.
Every month he schedules “The Day.” On that day he does not turn on his phone or computer. Instead Chandler spends time with his Bible and God. He calls it, “my hardest day,” adding, “I know it’s good for the heart and I know it’s difficult. I get wore out on sitting and praying. I’d rather be doing something.” But that he said, is the drift we all have toward self reliance.
Every Year Chandler celebrates advent, New Year’s Day and Easter. His family joins a group of friends on those days filled with food, drink and fun. He asked, “What’s broken in us that we can’t celebrate these things?”
It’s a reminder and an invitation into our privilege of the power and presence of God, not in the tabernacle or ritual, through a living invitation to dwell in and with the spirit of God. Think how it might mark us as a community of faith.
And Chandler said we and those around us enjoy benefits because we are at our best when we’re in the presence of God.