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Holy Hour for Beginners

“Now then, my children, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways. Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it. Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord. But those who fail to find me harm themselves; all who hate me love death.”

Proverbs 8:32-36

Father Larry Richards writes in his excellent book Be A Man! “If I were to ask you, gentleman, ‘Are you holy?’ What would you say? The correct answer is, ‘Yes, I am holy, Father, not because of me, but because of Christ, Who lives inside of me. The day I was chosen and baptized, God set me apart as His own. Now I am holy in God.”

Father Larry thinks we should grow in holiness each day and challenges us to spend one hour with Jesus every day saying:

“I have spent a holy hour with Jesus almost every single day since I was seventeen years old, and I can proclaim first hand that you receive great graces by being in His Presence.

It is like lying out in the sun. Just by lying there you get transformed; you might not notice it, but others will. The more naked you are the more of you that gets changed. The same thing happens when you come before the Son of God! Just by being in His Presence you will be transformed, and the more open you are before Him the more you will grow in holiness! You will not notice it but others sure will!”

Now you may be thinking, “One hour per day? I hardly can find fifteen minutes to myself each day!” But my challenge is for you to start very small. As Tiny Habits author BJ Fogg astutely teaches, “In order to design successful habits and change your behaviors, you should do three things. Stop judging yourself. Take your aspirations and break them down into tiny behaviors. Embrace mistakes as discoveries and use them to move forward.” So begin by breaking your goal of becoming more holy into the smallest possible chunk you can.

In this post I will share four great places to begin.


Start by reading one Proverb

When your morning alarm rings out do you take a few minutes snoozing or do you jump right out of bed and seize the day? I enjoy spending time enjoying the warmth of my covers and have no desire to jump right out of bed. Start as small as possible and give yourself permission to stay in bed a bit longer (nice!), but reach for the Bible that you have strategically stashed within arms reach. 

Okay, your alarm goes off… Roll over, grab your Bible and flip to the book of Proverbs and read just one Proverb. Since you need to get moving say a prayer thanking God for a good night’s rest and ask Him to guide you through the rights and wrongs of the upcoming day. And jump out of bed and go about your day. Just remember to repeat tomorrow.

This is how I began, but after a few weeks my soul yearned for more spiritual time each morning. Before I knew it I was getting up a bit earlier each morning and rather than reading just one Proverb I began following the advice Billy Graham shared in the foreword of Words of Wisdom: A Journey Through Psalms and Proverbs:

“By reading five Psalms and one chapter of Proverbs daily, you will be able to read them through each month. The Psalms will tell you how you get along with God, and the Proverbs will tell you how to get along with your fellow man” 

His advice encouraged me to read one Proverb (there are 31), five Psalms (there are 150), and a handful of chapters from one of the gospels (Matthew-28 chapters, Mark-16 chapters, Luke-24 chapters, and John-21 chapters) each morning. If you read three chapters from a gospel each day you can read most in one week. With my new habit I am able to completely read the books of Proverbs, Psalms, and all four gospels every month! It probably won’t surprise you to hear that my Spirit has flourished with this new habit, I have grown in my relationships, and I’ve seen fantastic growth in my business.

I now use this very useful book that contains just the books of Psalms and Proverbs. It is printed in large text, without any extra distracting information and helps me to truly meditate on the Word.

Now, somedays the temptations to check my email, read the news, or hop onto Facebook are stronger than my desire to spend time in the Word. But I must resist and create rules to prevent me from falling into these traps. If you can only read one verse from your Bible and say a prayer before checking your email you will be much better off. And if you are like me, one verse will eventually lead to two. 


Our Daily Bread

Another place you can begin is with the Our Daily Bread devotionals. ODB devotionals can be mailed to you at no cost four times per year. Each day they provide one Scripture and insight written by a collection of different authors. They are quick and easy to read and digest and I used these for a long time prior to beginning my Billy Graham routine. Another great thing to note about them is how portable they are. You can stuff one in your suitcase and keep growing in holiness while on the road. If preferred you can register to have their devotionals emailed to you each day, delivered to your phone with their app, or you can just goto their website.


Christian Gratitude Journal

My friend Ben Greenfield and I created the Christian Gratitude Journal. Launched on Kickstarter in 2017, thousands of Christians have cultivated a daily habit of gratitude since. The journal cleverly provides you with one Scripture and three questions to meditate upon and answer each day. 

  1. What are you grateful for today?
  2. What Biblical truth did I discover in today’s reading?
  3. Who can you pray for or serve today?

Science has proven a habit of gratitude will make you happier and healthier and the journal supports you in building this habit by taking out the guesswork and by providing a predictable and easy to follow system.

Since launching the journal I have learned to be grateful with the numerous blessings in my life: an afternoon walk in the sunshine with a good podcast, spontaneous conversations with a friend, a few extra minutes under the covers in the morning, and how a great song can make me sing and dance.

Before dinner each night my wife and I take two deep breaths and recollect what we are grateful for from the day and it always leads off our dinner in a great way.


Summary

I’ve provided you four great ways you can begin to grow in your holiness each day. And there are many more. The key is to focus daily on spending time with the Lord. Just as you focus on the other areas in your life. You schedule conference calls, workouts, date nights, vacations, and haircuts, but are you scheduling time with Jesus each day?

If not, why not?

When will you start? My suggestion is to use your alarm clock as your schedule. Your alarm no longer is the time for you haphazardly leap out of bed, brew a cup of coffee, check your email, get dressed, and start working. When it goes off it must become your trigger to spend time with the Lord.

Will you hit snooze? Or are you ready to become the Saint that God intends you to be.

Leave your comments, questions, and tips in the comments below. I read them all! Once you have mastered the above techniques it is time to you to graduate into Holy Hour for Amateurs.


Life can be lonely at the top.

Walk with the wise and become wise. (Proverbs 13:20)

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