A Prayer for the Best Use of Our Time
By Ashley Moore
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” - Psalm 90:12, ESV
Over a recent lunch with my husband, we discussed our plans for our future, personal aspirations, spiritual goals, and our family's finances. In between bites of pizza, we chatted about books we wanted to read and the Bible plans we wanted to complete in the upcoming year. We even began to daydream about traveling with the kids this summer. We jokingly entertained putting a pool in the backyard, but as the topic of replacing our aging family car came up, we were whisked back to reality.
What about you? Do you find yourself bouncing between purposeful plans and daring dreams? Have you had these conversations before, allowing yourself to mentally venture away for a while only to come back to the realization that your time, capacity, and finances are limited? Our desires won't always be possible because, unfortunately, life's necessities often take priority over our wish lists.
The truth is, in order to say yes to what’s pertinent and important will mean saying no to other things. While at the time, sacrificing and prioritizing can seem painful, having limitations and making adjustments are a natural part of the human experience.
Sometimes it will mean saying no to that volunteer opportunity at your kid’s school so that you can work an extra shift to build the family savings account back up after an unexpected home repair. Other times you will say yes to taking a new role at your job and no to staying stuck in a position that has caused relational tension in your marriage because of the long hours and poor boundaries. Or perhaps you will say no to working or pursuing another career venture so that you can rebuild your relationship with your children and focus on your health.
Moses, the author of Psalm 90, reminded us of our human limitations when he wrote, "So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) He addressed the biggest human dilemma, how full of trouble our days are and the sheer brevity of our lives. He prayed that we would use our time wisely by remembering how limited our time is. And that time well spent is time that makes rejoicing in the Lord and satisfying ourselves with His steadfast love a priority (Psalm 90:14).
This can seem like such a lofty goal when deciding what to say yes and no to, can’t it? But maybe asking a few simple questions such as:
- “Is this the best use of my time?”
- “Will this matter in eternity or even ten minutes from now?”
- “Is this decision rooted in the desire to rejoice in the Lord and His Love, or am I saying yes out of obligation that will ultimately leave me bitter and exhausted?
May we continue to dream and have hopes for the future with the Lord and the people we love. But may we also intentionally remember our limitations (aka number our days) so that we may gain the wisdom to make the best use of our time as we seek to honor the Lord with our lives.
I admit it defies my human nature to thank you for my limitations. And I readily forget that my time on earth has an end and that when that day arrives, I will be accountable for how I have stewarded this life you entrusted to me. Lord, I pray that you would teach us to number our days. Lord, forgive us when we squander our time uselessly or waste it on things that have no eternal value. Lord, give us the wisdom to use our time doing things that have eternal significance. The daily choices we face are not always clear about what is most important from your perspective. And we also face the tension of knowing you desire we enjoy the life you've given us, so Lord, help us discern what deserves our time.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Sinenkiy
Ashley Moore is a writer and host of be the two™podcast. She is known for her relatability and for passionately writing and speaking about mental, emotional, and relational health from a biblical worldview. She has written for Kingdom Edge Magazine, Guideposts, Crosswalk, The Secret Place, enLIVEn, The Bubbling Brook and more. If Ashley isn't writing, you can find her with her husband, three children, and two floppy-eared Goldens on their south Georgia farmland. The best way to connect with Ashley is to grab a free devotional or Bible study and join her newsletter at free.ashleynicolemoore.com.
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Originally published Monday, 06 February 2023.