The word priority comes from the Latin ‘prior’ meaning “first”. Only one thing can be first, but about a hundred years ago we allowed things to morph into the plural “priorities”. Is it any wonder we get fractured, distracted, and harried with more than one priority?
In our current world the multi-tasking plural “priorities” has become the reality. In order to help keep a healthy perspective here is a Biblical acrostic view for managing priorities:
P = Prayer; in which we ask God for wisdom, for direction, and for help in being faithful, disciplined, and obedient. Prayer also makes our need for humbleness patently obvious.
R = Review God’s priorities for our lives, number one of which is to make God’s Word central in our lives, to better discern our priorities. Our worshipful walk with God should form the center of our life.
I = Take inventory. Determine in practical and measurable terms how we live out our lives – how much time we allocate to various activities, how we spend our money, etc. Then assess if these things align with God’s priority, or whether we are just letting life happen without being intentional in our choices.
O = Order our daily schedule according to God’s priorities. Tend to the big (key) things first, letting the lesser items fit in to the remainder of the day. And the more inconsequential activities slip to another day or season.
R = Resist the tyranny of the urgent, keeping our eye on the eternal horizon.
I = Seek input from wise, Godly people, who have been placed in our lives. We can’t do life alone!
T = Make wise use of God’s daily gift of time, making to-do decisions against the backdrop of eternity. Is this a good long-run decision, etc.? Can we do a better job of redeeming the time God has given us today?
I = Identify the distractions, those things that are cluttering up our lives and keeping us from God’s agenda, i.e. being all that we can be. Even seemingly little distractions rob us of time, margin and spiritual vitality. Eliminate clutter and and you won’t have to climb over so much junk to stay on God’s agenda.
E = Experience each moment and season to its fullest. Don’t allow everything (or anything) to steal focus. Whatever it’s time for us to be doing right now, do it with all our hearts and for all His glory. Live in the present and be ‘all there’ wherever that is.
S = Be fully surrendered. Live obsessed by God so that your abiding awareness of Him continually pushes itself to the forefront of our lives. At the start of each new day (and, yes, each new year ) ask Him to direct our path, to order our steps, to show us when an interruption is really an opportunity.
Let us pray, then, with the psalmist David, “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” [Psalm 25:4-5] Then at the end of our lives, along with the Lord Jesus, we will be able to say to our Father, “I glorified you on the earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” [John 17:4]
Adapted from The Quiet Place devotional by Nancy Leigh DeMoss