Very early in the morning or just before bed: when it comes to gospel study, this tends to be the pattern we assume, especially when the daytime schedule starts filling up with must-dos. But it doesn’t work for everyone. In fact, many people realize that they are too tired in the morning, and too tired at night to have any kind of meaningful experience with the scriptures.
“But there is no other time I can do it!” we hear you say.
Life can be absolutely crazy, we know. That’s why we’ve come up with a few ideas to help you sneak gospel study back into the “Prime Time” of the hectic new back-to-school schedule.
Dropping the Kids Off
There’s this odd little slot of time once we’ve dropped the kids off at school: the un-usable ten-minute drive home. Most of us go into to-do-list mode, hurriedly figuring out how we’re going to fit everything in that day. But what if we hit play on our phones and listened to a conference talk instead?
With October General Conference suddenly on the horizon, there is just the right amount of time to be re-inspired by the messages we were given a few months ago. We can use then use the talks to study our scriptures by theme as well. So just download the Gospel Library app, and click the audio scripture button. Imagine how much better we’d feel if we filled our anxious minds with peace and hope at the start of the day. The scriptures give context and perspective to daily living in a way that no other activity can.
Go ahead and enjoy listening while you drive, but remember once you’ve pulled up in front of the house, it doesn’t have to mean your time is up. There’s nothing wrong with sitting right there in the car and enjoying some extra time with the scriptures!
Those First Moments of Silence
Maybe your kids take the bus to school, or maybe they carpool. Never fear! As the front door shuts, take in those FIRST precious moments of quiet . . . and read the scripture assignment for this week’s Sunday School lesson. It’s important to do this before checking email or other messages and getting sucked into the demands of the day.
One of the best ways to remember your gospel study is to leave yourself little reminders. For example, remember the inspiring Ponderize scripture challenge from Elder Devin Durrant at the October 2015 General Conference? So how’s that going? *wink*. Make your Ponderizing scripture the background on your phone and get back on track!
We never (shouldn’t) forget to make time to grab lunch, so why not eat and enjoy some spiritual food at the same time? Put in those headphones if you are at work and get a scriptural lift mid-day. If you are at home, let the audio scriptures run on the computer while you eat and or get things done. Playing a conference talk in the background can also bring a peaceful spirit into the home and keep negative thoughts at bay.
If you prefer reading rather than listening at home, keep your scriptures, and the Ensign in the kitchen or in other visible and easily accessible locations so you can grab them when you sit down for a 5 minute break. Make it easy for your kids by leaving the Friend and New Era magazines next to their favorite chairs or on their night stands as well.
Family Scripture Study at the Dinner Table
If you really want family scripture study to be enjoyed rather than dreaded, try changing the committed time slot to right at the end of your dinner time. Everyone is fed and happy, everyone is already present and you don’t have to drag someone off their homework or in from outside. This time works well if you are craving consistency and success in making scripture study a part of your family culture.
As an important side note, one of the most influential things you can do for your family is to set the web browser to pull LDS.org up as the home page on all your computers and laptops. Having the church website as the first internet site that pops up—anytime, anywhere, means you are getting quick spiritual boosts throughout the day. This has got to be the easiest way to help our families see that our lives are centered around the gospel and every choice we make during the day should fit into that context.
We all know that images and words we see on a screen have a powerful effect—and stay with us even when we are only exposed to them for a split second. So why not make the images, headlines, article titles and video links be of the highest value? This can add a layer of spiritual protection, give us a quick reminder of priorities and responsibilities, and influence our choices. It can also help to keep social media and other peripheral pursuits in their proper perspective.
Pick a Time Slot—And Protect It
Remember, gospel study is meant to bring peace and give us daily guidance for our life; it is not just another checklist item on our lengthy to-do lists. Don’t forget, we can also do things the old fashioned way and just pin up scriptures in high traffic areas of the home or office. Here’s one for the fridge this week:
“Time for scripture study requires a schedule that will be honored. Otherwise, blessings that matter most will be at the mercy of things that matter least.” ~ Elder Russell M. Nelson, General Conference, 2000)