MEETING WITH JESUS THROUGHOUT THE DAY
Focused time alone with him
…the most important thing about you is your mind, and the most important thing about your mind is what it is fixed upon. So, the object is to have your mind always fixed on the Lord. This is only possible through constantly renewed effort. …the life without lack is simply a matter of having one’s mind fully and constantly fixed upon God as he is, confident that he will provide everything that we need. (Taken from Life Without Lack by Dallas Willard, pages 205 and 48. Copyright © 2018 by Willard Family Trust. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com.)
Two Training Efforts
Becoming like Jesus is not a one-time, permanent fix. Constantly renewing your mind will engage an ongoing two-effort process.
Your first effort, explored in this section, will be to meet regularly with Jesus throughout the day.
Your second effort will be to keep him constantly in your mind in all of your regular work and daily endeavors. (Check out the Jesus in All Your Moments page.)
These two efforts are a great framework for many of our daily disciplines which bring about the character and transformation of Christ in our lives. They are a simple but solid way to approach spiritual practices. They are specific enough to be useful and broad enough to hold a whole world full of variety.
This website helps you plan for both efforts and offers opportunities for practicing some of the suggestions that you will use during the day you plan to spend with Jesus in your regular life. And after that day, you can consider how you might like to spend future days with him (hopefully all of them!). For starters, you will just plan one day.
I Timothy 4:8
Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.
Your day with Jesus will need to be intentionally planned. Take your daily work and family life into consideration. It is important that the special times you plan to meet with Jesus are arranged in advance.
Consider a date
Before we dive into planning your meetings with Jesus, consider a date to do your first day with Jesus (and hopefully all your days after that). You can finalize this later.
The Meeting Planning Tool
Print the Meeting Planning Tool worksheet to be used as you plan for your meeting times on the day you spend with Jesus. The structure may be helpful for you as you think about your plan. We will walk through each section of the Meeting Planning Tool step by step.
You will notice that some of the meetings have specific practices recommended (Sundown, Dawn, and Reflection meetings). The others are open to where you want to go with them, with all the practices on this website as good options. We will talk more about these as we cover each area. And of course, you are always welcome to follow your own path as God leads you.
Sundown and Dawn meetings
You may have already experienced what the first two meetings of your day with Jesus can be like if you have done Evenings and Nights with Jesus and Waking Up with Jesus. Use the Meeting Planning Tool to plan your Sundown and your Dawn meetings on your upcoming day with Jesus, using the first two rows on the Meeting Planning Tool. (Leave the other rows blank for now.) Prayerfully think through the times and locations that you would like to try. If you have not tried these practices yet, you may want to try them on your day with Jesus. If you prefer to save that for later, you can leave these blank now, or fill them in with other ideas for evening and morning.
Since you have decided to spend the entire day with Jesus, it is fitting that, before heading into your day, you have a plan for another session with your Lord. I suggest that you have it soon, maybe right after breakfast, before you dive into your first big project of the day. (Taken from Life Without Lack by Dallas Willard, page 204. Copyright © 2018 by Willard Family Trust. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com.)
We can refer to the second meeting with Jesus at the outset of the work of your day as the “outset meeting.” This meeting could be at your desk before you start your day, after the kids have gotten on the bus, arriving to work a few moments early to have time with Jesus in your car, or even on your drive to work.
Throughout your day with Jesus, it is a beautiful thing to have something specific from God’s word to keep bringing back to your mind. For example, a scripture, a word, or a story from the Bible. You may want to choose this word or thought from scripture during your Sundown, Dawn, or Outset meeting. Regardless of when you select it, your outset meeting is a great time to solidify it in your mind for the day. Activating the scripture in your mind in your outset meeting can be helpful so it’s ready to revisit throughout the day. In addition to traditional daily reading plans or devotionals, here are some great ways to bring scripture to mind:
Frank Laubach suggested that:
We read and reread the life of Jesus recorded in the Gospels thoughtfully and prayerfully at least an hour a day. We find fresh ways and new translations, so that this reading will never be dull, but always stimulating and inspiring. Thus we walk with Jesus through Galilee by walking with Him through the pages of His earthly history. (From page 89 of Letters by a Modern Mystic by Frank Laubach. 2007. Used by permission of Purposeful Design Publications.)
However, remember that you do not have to do it how Frank Laubach (or anyone else) did. Find ways that work for you and God. Keep it fresh and alive so that God’s word is with you throughout the day, actively in your mind and shaping you. Experiment and explore.
Think of the day you will have with Jesus. Use the third row on the Meeting Planning Tool to plan your “outset meeting.” Consider incorporating some scripture into this time or recalling scripture from an earlier meeting with Jesus.
Scheduled meetings throughout the day
This is the practice that establishes the habits. Thus, when you plan [your meetings], you must do them by the clock. Do not wait until you feel especially spiritual. Set specific times during the day and then keep to your schedule. You can trust God to take care of them… (Taken from Life Without Lack by Dallas Willard, page 206. Copyright © 2018 by Willard Family Trust. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com.)
As you meet with Jesus throughout the day, you will likely grow to increasingly appreciate his companionship and his abundance. Whatever you decide to try, your day should involve scheduled times of meeting with Jesus. The possibilities are numerous. These are a few examples:
10 minutes every 2 to 3 hours
5 minutes every 25 minutes
10 minutes every 60 minutes
3 minutes every hour
30 minutes every 3 hours
Perhaps you are in a profession such as medical care or teaching and do not have much flexibility in the intervals at which you would like to stop and take your focused, exclusive time with God. Creatively consider the natural breaks in your day including meals, break times, and maybe even escaping to the bathroom. Invite the Holy Spirit to give you joyful guidance in this consideration, without any guilt over what your life accommodates. Also, do not shy away from considering significant changes to your life and schedule to make room for your Jesus time. But remember it should be inviting, not burdensome. This is your day with Jesus.
Take this time to prayerfully consider the schedule you would like for your day with Jesus. How often and how long would you like to have special times to meet with him for your “scheduled meetings during the day”? This is just a starting point. You can continue to modify (first two columns of “scheduled meetings during the day” row on the Meeting Planning Tool).
How to spend your meeting time
These times are your opportunities during the day to intentionally worship God, express your gratitude, and share your concerns with him. Seek solitude for these meetings, if possible.
As we considered in the outset meeting, it is helpful if one or more of your meeting times with Jesus includes some time or thought in scripture. You might also find it helpful to use the spiritual practices on this website during your special meeting times with Jesus. You could focus on one practice during each meeting or spread one practice throughout the day, or any variation that you would like to try. There may be times when these breaks are simply stopping to appreciate beauty or music, or just to breathe him in.
Use the third column of the Meeting Planning Tool for ideas about how to use your meeting time.
Emergencies are opportunities to bring God into the realities of your life. (Taken from Life Without Lack by Dallas Willard, page 207. Copyright © 2018 by Willard Family Trust. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com.)
Think about your day and the types of emergencies and interruptions you might experience. With the help of the Holy Spirit, start to plan and imagine how you might handle those. Journal your thoughts and prayers.
*Note - in the following section, “The Reflection Meeting,” we will be skipping forward to pages 209-210 in Life Without Lack. We will cover pages 207-208 in the practice of Jesus in All Your Moments.
The Reflection Meeting
Skip forward to read pages 209-210 in Life Without Lack
The Examen practice can be a useful format for your reflection meeting. Prayerfully explore your thoughts and feelings about reviewing your day with Jesus. If you have reluctance or concerns, invite God to help you process that. If you are feeling hopeful, thank and praise God for that. If you think of barriers that you may encounter, prayerfully explore those with God, inviting his help and creativity.
One alternative that might be helpful during each of your meetings with Jesus, is using the table from the Examen practice to chart the events and reflection of the day so far. This allows for real time awareness and course corrections throughout your day. It may also provide you with a more accurate picture of your day as the events that you reflect on will be more recent. Then in your reflection meeting at the end of the day, you can contemplate the entire day and prayerfully explore the follow up questions that come after the table in the Examen (check out the printable version linked at the bottom of the page to get the table format).
In planning for your day with Jesus, pick a good time and place to try your reflection and examination (last row on the Meeting Planning Tool). If you would like to chart your experiences throughout the day in preparation for your reflection meeting, note that in your “Scheduled meetings during the day” in the Meeting Planning Tool.
After the Draft of the plan for meetings is done
Now that your draft is done, consider it just that, a draft, as you approach your day, allowing the Holy Spirit to prompt any changes that might be helpful. Remember that there is not a “right way.” We are all different and work well with different processes and schedules and with varying amounts of structure. Do not concern yourself with what others are doing, but only with what you think God desires for you. Keep your heart open to how the Holy Spirit wants you to change and try different things. Perhaps you will explore ways to be more disciplined in connecting with him. Or maybe he wants you to look at ways to be freer in connecting with him. Be flexible and enjoy the process of experimenting and finding ways to allow him to reach you and form you. This approach to meeting with Jesus throughout the day is complimented well by keeping Jesus in All Your Moments.
Finalize your date
Review the date you were considering for your day with Jesus. At this point, you can finalize your date. Remember, this can be flexible if plans need to change. However, if you do need to reschedule, be sure to pick a new date immediately, just as you would if you were rescheduling a meeting.