I Prayed have prayed
Father God, I desire to seek You first. I want You to be enthroned in my life above everything; I don’t want to have any idols in my life at all. Please search my heart. Purge me and purify me. Help me to put You first in every area of my life from now on. Thank You, Father. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Beloved intercessor, what are the defining patterns of your life?

Do you have a pattern of working hard, or perhaps even of overwork? Do you have a pattern of healthy choices and attention to fitness?

Perhaps you have a pattern of spending quality time with your family every weekend outdoors. Or maybe you even have a habit of eating and playing games together every week, on Taco Tuesday.

Our habits define our lives and relationships. And as we enter Christmas Day, the day we celebrate the birth of our Savior, I feel led to ask you:

Do you have a habit of making Jesus first in your life?

When Joseph and Mary journeyed to Bethlehem before Christ was born, they found that there was no room for them in the inn. It didn’t matter to the innkeeper that Mary was in great need. It didn’t matter that the comfort of a clean, soft bed would greatly assist her in her very imminent childbirth. The innkeeper simply had no room for them — no room for the Christ-child, really — so Mary and Joseph and the soon-to-arrive baby Jesus were turned out into the stable.

Today, you and I are innkeepers also: We each keep the “inn” of our heart.

And if there’s one thing that I’ve been surprised at lately, it is the sheer number of Christians who have admitted to me that they do not spend time with God, seeking Him in prayer and Bible study, every single day — let alone seeking Him first.

It seems that, too often, we Christians simply have no room for Jesus in the inn of our hearts.

Despite the fact that each of us has a great personal need, and that our needs can only be met by Jesus; despite the fact that we each need comfort and rest, and that God Himself is the only source of both; despite the fact that we all need a daily cleansing and washing in the pure water of the word, so that the filth of this sinful world may be removed and we may be transformed by the renewing of our minds, we have not made room for Jesus.

Nevertheless, Jesus taught us that we must seek God first:

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

And anything we put before God is, to us, an idol, which is strictly forbidden:

And God spoke all these words, saying: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:1–3 NKJV).

Despite these things, we have in many cases filled the rooms of our hearts and lives with many things that occupy our time, while leaving the best Thing — the best One — out in the cold:

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2:7 NKJV).

Oh, friend, if there is anything I would implore you to do for this Christmas season AND for this new year coming up — and indeed, for the rest of your life — it is this:

Put God first.

Wake up every morning and go to Him first.

Spend time alone with God in prayer, Bible study, and worship before you do anything else.

  • Yes, spend time with God before you shower.
  • Seek Him and read His word before you eat breakfast.
  • Go to Him alone in prayer even before that morning workout; before turning on the news; before surfing Facebook; before anything else that you have been putting before God!

I’m not asking you to be legalistic here, but I am asking you to diligently examine your heart. What is first in your heart? What does your schedule show to be your personal first priority?

Years ago, the Lord challenged me about this personally.

And as I invited Him to search my heart, He showed me that I was putting my stomach’s desire for breakfast, my worry about getting to work on time, and many other things, all before Him — because I sought all of those things first every morning, before I spent time seeking Him.

I was heartbroken when Holy Spirit showed me this. I repented, and I resolved right away to get up in the morning and make Jesus my first Desire, my first Aim, and my first Priority, and to demonstrate His first place in my life through the way I spend my time.

Therefore, I rearranged my morning routine so that I began to seek Him first, and that habit has shaped my life, character, prayer life, relationship with God, relationships with people, ministry, finances, and everything else ever since. That time alone with God first has sustained my life both literally and figuratively, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Everything depends on time spent first with Jesus, and nothing can replace that.

When we seek God first, He adds everything else to us.

But when we put Him last, or second — or, God forbid, never — we cannot walk in the fullness of His blessings, because we do not meet the conditions He attached to His promises. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33 NKJV).

Beloved, are you ready to seek Him first today and forevermore?

Will you invite Him into the inn of your heart, including the “inn” of your schedule and priorities, and no longer leave Him out in the cold? I pray that you will.

Pray this with me if you are ready to give Jesus first place in the “inn” of your heart and schedule:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I come to You in Jesus’ name.

Father God, thank You for loving me and saving me. Thank You for perfecting all things that concern me. Thank You that You are continually discipling me and teaching me, taking me from glory to glory, faith to faith, and strength to strength.

Father, I see now that I have not been seeking You first, and I repent of that. Please forgive me. By putting other things before You every day, I have set up idols for myself. I didn’t mean to, Father, and I didn’t realize that this was what I was doing. Nevertheless, the effect is the same: I have set up idols for myself that I have preferred before You, Father, and I’m sorry. I repent for my idolatry.

Father God, please forgive my sins. Cover me with the blood of Jesus. Thank You that Your word says that if I confess my sins, You are faithful and just to forgive my sins, and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness.

Father, from now on, I desire to seek You first.

  • I desire to put You first in my schedule, giving you the first time slot of every single day.
  • I desire to think of You first, before I think of anything else, every single day.
  • I desire to honor You and give You first preference and priority, ahead of the needs of my flesh and ahead of all the demands that are placed on my time.

Father, please take up Your holy throne in my life. I invite You into my heart, to be first in my life. Jesus, You are King of kings and Lord of lords, and I give You the place of king in my life today — the place that You deserve.

Father God, please keep me on a short leash about this. Please convict me every time I put something or someone else above You. Please help me to wake up every morning and spend time one-on-one with You, alone, in prayer and Bible study and worship, just You and me. I’ll need Your help to do this, Father, but I thank You that by Your Holy Spirit, You give more grace.

Thank You for Your mercy and kindness toward me, Lord. I love You, and I give You all the praise. In Jesus’ mighty name I pray. Amen.

Friend, letting God search our hearts can be a painful process, but He is a gentle surgeon. When He convicts us, He empowers us to change, if we will yield to Him. I pray today that you will follow the leading of the Lord in giving God first place in your life, and I pray that He would reward you as He has promised.

Is this message speaking to your heart? Do you need to rearrange your schedule in order to put Jesus first in everything? If so, leave a comment below. And let’s all pray for one another in this area!

Jamie Rohrbaugh equips people to walk in the manifest presence of God. She is the author of Radical Prayer, Radical God: 25 Prayers that Bring Heaven to Earth and Speak Life Volume 1: Chart Your Course with Your Words. She blogs for a global readership at FromHisPresence.com, where she writes about prayer, the prophetic word, living supernaturally, inner healing, and kingdom wealth. Her writing is featured on YouVersion, in Charisma Magazine, and on The Elijah List, Spirit Fuel, and various other ministry outlets. Receive free encouragement and equipping through her podcast, Take Your Territory with Jamie Rohrbaugh, which you can download anytime on iTunes or Spotify.

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

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Neil J Sogge
December 26, 2023

We look up to You, Lord Jesus Christ, and to Your example of prayer. You would arise early, go off to a solitary place to pray to the Father. Yours was a strong bond, an unbreakable bond. And You so much desire that we can have that with You. Forgive us for being so easily distracted, for not putting You first in our hearts. In patience, grant us grace to come to You as children, as children who are eager to gather around Your presence. Christmas, the calendar date, is passed, and we can only hope that there were many Christians who, for a change, made room in the Inn to reflect upon You and to commune with You. We can only hope that there were unbelievers touched by the Christmas invitation and did in fact invite You into their hearts. But Christmas is not a day on the calendar, but a place in our hearts. Help us to have Christmas the whole year round by daily and consistently providing a place in the Inn of our hearts for You. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

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Judith
December 24, 2023

“I know that you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” Revelation 2: 3-4 Praying Lord Jesus, that we, the Body of Christ, will love You with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength, making time with You Lord our first priority. In Your Steadfast Love I remain, praying in Your name. Amen.

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