Sunday concludes our 28-day challenge for the 5 O’Clock Club and the FAM Club. As of today, we have 959 members of The 5 O’Clock Club and 378 members of The FAM Club. Even if you didn’t participate in the challenge, you can still join the clubs at any time.
It’s been so exciting to hear from so many of you about how God has given you grace in your times of meeting with Him and in praying for your family. Please continue to share your testimonies for the encouragement of us all. You can submit a testimony for the clubs, and we’ll post them periodically as well.
Whatever growth in grace we’ve experienced this past month, may God receive all the glory!
“We glorify God, when we give God the glory of all that we do. So when we have done anything praiseworthy, we must hide ourselves under the veil of humility, and transfer the glory of all we have done to God.” Thomas Watson
“Lord…all that we have accomplished you have done for us.” Isaiah 26:12
(Friday Funnies coming later today)
We received this exciting and funny email from Erin today and just had to share it with you. Read to the end if you (like me!) have trouble getting out of your warm bed each morning:
As a mom to 2 small children, I have been consistent at one thing for the past few years, and that is struggling to spend time with God. It has been a constant source of frustration and guilt for me, as I have focused on my lack of a quiet time and not the goodness and grace of a loving God. I have even attempted the 5 o’clock club before and failed miserably because of my motivations and dependence on myself.
Well, this time has been very different for me. I began rising early to spend time with God in January, so when I saw that your blog would be focusing on this for February, it was truly confirmation for me that God was drawing me into deeper communion with Him. I cannot tell you how thankful I have been for the accountability and encouragement of your blog over the past few weeks. I have more than enjoyed my times of rising early everyday and I am so thankful that God has given me His grace in this area.
My goal from the start was to get one load of laundry done and spend 45 minutes to an hour, reading, praying, etc. Getting the laundry done has been HUGE for serving my family. It is no longer a constant source of irritation…now it is a constant source of excitement.
I could go on and on about how meaningful my time with God has been (much more so than having the laundry done) but that would literally take several days. I am so grateful for what He has been showing me and the desire He has given me to pray for my friends and family. I am 31 years old, and can honestly say I have never experienced such a sweet time with my Savior! I am so, so, so, so grateful!
One more thing…I wanted to share something that has actually helped me get up in the mornings…it’s rather amusing! One of the hardest things about getting up, to me, is how cold it is! Getting out of a warm bed into cold air is no fun! I found myself wrapping up in a blanket every morning, but that often got in the way of folding the laundry or reading. Well, as sort of a gag gift, my husband bought me a Snuggie! I know, I know…A SNUGGIE?! BUT…it has been fantastic…I love getting out of my warm bed into my warm snuggie…what a fabulous invention!!! The only downside has been folding laundry filled with static while wrapped in a Snuggie…there have been a couple of times where I felt like I was being electrocuted…I guess that’s good if you’re having trouble waking up!
I included a picture of me in my Snuggie. I would have preferred pink, but my husband got blue…I think it is because secretly he wants to wear it, too!
“How do you keep going with these disciplines when it is tough?” Dawn asked us last week:
“I really wanted to try it out but circumstances have only served to discourage me. The alarm waking my 3 year old so I spend the whole ‘quiet time’ is spent trying to settle him and stop him disturbing the others, then both we both have a harder day because of the extra tiredness. How do you keep on? I am convinced it is a good thing but feel like I am letting my whole family down because I am tired and so discouraged. Sorry just wonder if I am the only one who can’t work it out.”
You certainly aren’t the only one! All four of us know exactly how you feel! With small children, it is hard to do anything consistently. The only thing predictable about our days is that they are unpredictable! But here are a few ideas (all from Mom) that we’ve found helpful:
1. Change What You Can – Small, practical changes can make a big difference. Consider potential solutions like buying a quieter alarm clock or placing it where the kids are less likely to hear it. I’ve even set my phone alarm to ring and vibrate and then slept with it under my pillow! My husband and I have run “tests” to see what noises in the house (walking on hardwood, flushing toilet, opening closet) sound loudest in our kid’s rooms. And training our children to read books on their beds until a set time each morning has made a huge difference. However, some problems aren’t so easy to solve, that’s why it’s good to…
2. Have a “Plan B“ – If your ideal plan doesn’t work out, have a back-up plan in place. Plan “A” might be to meet with God before the children wake up; but if you’re up half the night with a sick baby, you need sleep in the morning! Plan “B” may be to read God’s Word and pray during your children’s naptime.
3. “Do What You Can”- If both “Plan A” and “Plan B” fail (which may happen often with small children!) then do what you can. Read this great story from Donald Whitney about how one mother’s hunger for God’s Word led to some creative solutions. Liberating and inspiring!
4. Try Again Tomorrow – Even if you only rise early two times each week you are doing more than if you never tried at all—that should encourage you!
5. Preach the Gospel to Yourself – This will lead to joy. God is not more pleased with us on the days we rise early or less pleased with us on days when we sleep late. We are accepted and approved because of Jesus Christ.
Finally, as Mom is fond of reminding us: this is a season. It will pass all too quickly and the three year old who wakes up early will be a thirteen year old who you can’t get out of bed in the morning. Until then, remember that God’s grace is more than sufficient (2 Cor. 12:19). He daily bears us up, and promises that “as your days, so shall your strength be” (Ps. 68:19, Deut. 33:25).
This morning we received an email from one new club member, Kristin. Here’s a snippet:
Today is the second day for me in the 5 AM Club. By God’s grace, I have not hit the snooze yet, and that is a HUGE deal for me…seriously. I was so excited about this club that I sent out the idea to the women at our church. As of now, we have 17 college girls that are joining the club and waking up early to meet with Jesus. Praise God! It’s so encouraging to know that there are women all over the place fighting against laziness and pursuing holiness. Thanks SO much for initiating this club!
“Fighting laziness and pursuing holiness” might seem to be getting harder as the week goes on. The snooze button never looked so inviting as it did this morning!
We’re not sleep experts, but in our experience, you’re at the most difficult point right now. The initial adrenaline has worn off and your body is rebelling against the change. But our experience (again, we’re no experts) is that if you push through, it will get easier soon. Your body will adjust to the new routine. In the meantime, we recommend an extra long nap or an early bedtime!
But just because rising early (or fasting) is hard, doesn’t mean we can’t do it or that it isn’t worth it. J. Alec Motyer explains in his comments on Philippians. 1:9-11 Read it carefully. Then read it again:
“And this is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
“Our obedience, discipline and hard graft are not insignificant or optional. On the contrary, they are the God-intended context for growth. But something else energizes the growth till the fruit is ready for harvest: all is done through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God (verse 11)….In this setting the daily task of obedience remains hard, but not fruitless. We are often neglectful, frequently failing, ever inadequate; yet the end is secure, for God is at work.”
Getting up early to sit at Jesus’ feet is hard, but not fruitless. We may fail, but the end is secure: God is at work. So let’s persevere in this “context for growth” to the glory and praise of His name!
So it’s day three of the 28-day challenge. How’s it going? Are you on your third cup of coffee and thinking about getting an espresso machine? Is your stomach complaining so loudly you can hardly hear yourself pray?
Do you wonder how you can keep this up for 28 days, much less a lifetime?
John Piper explains how, in his comments on 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12:
“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Paul prays for us—and I pray for you even as I write this—that God will “fulfill every resolve for good” that we have. This means that it is good to have resolves. God approves of it. It also means that our resolving is important, but that God’s enabling us to “fulfill” the resolves is crucial. Paul wouldn’t pray if God’s help weren’t needed. “The heart of man plans [resolves!] his way, but the Lord establishes [fulfills!] his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
But it matters how we resolve. When Paul says, “every resolve for good and every work of faith,” he is not describing two different acts. He is describing one act in two ways. It is a “resolve for good” because we will it. It is a “work of faith” because we depend on Jesus to give us power to fulfill it. That’s how we resolve—by faith in Jesus.
So Paul says that the fulfilling of the resolve is “by his power.” That’s what we are depending on. That’s what we are looking for when we resolve. We are looking to Jesus who promised to be with us and help us. “I know that through . . . the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance” (Philippians 1:19).
We are praying for YOU that God will fulfill these resolves for good and that you would depend upon Jesus’ power to do them. So, I guess we know how things will turn out. We’re confident that, by His power, you can stay in the clubs!
When we called each other at 4:45 am yesterday morning to prepare to open the clubs, we didn’t know what to expect. “What if it flops and no one signs up?” we wondered.
“And why do we always launch new stuff so early?” Janelle asked in her groggy morning voice (I wish you could hear what she sounds like at 5 am!). No one answered her.
I mean, if you didn’t know better, you might think we were trying to sabotage our own blog. Why else would we start two clubs with such unappealing membership requirements as less sleep and less food, and then kick them off at 5 O’Clock in the morning?
But you all began to sign up before 5 O’Clock! We tried to keep pace—accepting each request as it came in; but we soon fell hopelessly behind and the site was so overwhelmed that we could no longer access the management page. By late afternoon our site designer came to the rescue, and accepted your requests in one large batch. We are working hard this morning to add the newest members.
As of right now, The 5 O’Clock Club has over 600 members and The Fam Club has over 250—and both are growing! (By the way, you’ll notice the names are sorted alphabetically, but we have a record of the order of signup and will be contacting the Starbucks card winners shortly.)
What’s exciting to us is not that we have a lot of names on our rolls, it’s what your eagerness to join these clubs represents—your hunger for God’s Word, your passion to grow in prayer, your longing to see the lost sinners in your family come to Christ, your awareness of your desperate need for God’s grace, your determination to sit at Jesus’ feet each morning.
These themes echoed throughout your comments. We wish we could post them all here, but our site—already creaking under the heavy load of traffic—simply doesn’t have the space. But here’s how a few of our fellow club members answered the questions:
“Why do you want to join The 5 O’Clock Club?”
To join women from around the world in pursuing godliness in this discipline of rising early and sitting at His feet.
To help me get a spiritually healthy habit started and doing it together makes it that much sweeter
I have three little ones who seem to be conspiring to wreck my quiet time in the mornings: a nursing baby, who wakes up at a different time each day, and two preschoolers who are making a rocky transition to sharing a room. I want to get up earlier so that I will be able to meet with God for a few minutes, at least, BEFORE I begin nursing the baby and intervening in the hey-get-out-of-my-bed arguments.
By God’s mercies & grace, your blog has been a means of grace to help me start & spur me to seek the Lord daily 1st thing in the morning… ever since then, (it’s been 1 year & 7 months already!), I’ve been enabled to enjoy doing it every morning. Praise God!
My sweet 5 AM friend Valerie and I have been alternating calling each other each week since the beginning of January to wake up and it has blessed us so much to be in the Word first thing each morning. It has definitely gotten easier and look forward to see how the Lord will continue to use it for His glory in our lives.
My husband and I have been waking together at 5 for about 2 years now. My parents made this a regular practice as well. It has been such a blessing to us in our spiritual growth as individuals as well as a couple. We want our boys to benefit from this practice as well.
I am the wife of one and the mother of ten children- ages 10 mo. - 10yrs. The Lord has been urging me to rise early for some time. This sounded like a beautiful way to encourage me to do just that. My godly mother was always such an example and encouragement in my life to get up early to spend time sitting at the feet of Jesus. Since she has gone to be with the Lord, it has been a battle to get up early with consistency. Thank you for this encouragement. God bless you all.
Because I think its good reading the Bible and I’m doing it with my Mum! (I’m seven years old)
My mom asked me to join the club along with my sister, aunts, and grandmother. I already spend time with God, but I would like to be more deliberate in my time with Him. I also think it would be great to do this together as a family.
I have three little kids- 4, 2 and 10 months. I will not get a moment to read the Bible if I don’t get up early! I have been part of the “6 o’clock club” of my own since I read your book “Shopping for time.” I used to think I would get a time to read the Bible during the day, but day after day I would not get to it, promising my self and God I WOULD do it tomorrow for sure. Something had to change. When I started getting up before my kids and enforcing the “don’t get up before 7am” rule for my early riser my bible reading got consistent and profitable! It has been a blessing ever since! For the first few months my sister called me every morning. Now my husband and I wake up together so it is easier to get up! It is my favorite part of the day. Thanks for the encouragement on this blog and for us moms to make time with the Lord.
For the encouragement of knowing others are waking up at the same crazy time that I am
“Why do you want to join The FAM Club?”
I’m wanting to enter for my four grandchildren!
To lock arms with others that are crying out to the Lord on behalf of family members.
God has called us to adoption so we have a lot of kids. Some of our kids come with special needs and also some pretty significant scars, some visible and some invisible. I want to pray for them that God will do some amazing work in their hearts that will show His glory and His work in their lives that they will be an amazing testimony of God’s grace and mercy.
I am the first Christian in my immediate and extended family that I know of and long for the rest of my family - mom, dad, brother, uncles, aunts, etc - to know Jesus in a real way!
I would desire not much more in life than to see my siblings..[five younger brothers] saved by the Lord Jesus in my lifetime
How important my role is as a mother to do everything I can to win my children’s hearts to Christ. I teach them, train them, and pray for them, but have not fasted for them. The stories that you have posted have struck deep, and what better what to get on my knees for my girls than with fasting. I hope I can keep this up until all my children are saved, and then fast for their children… so until the day I die!
My husband is not saved. We have 5 children ranging in age from 2 years old to 20 years of age. Obviously the little ones haven’t received salvation but neither have the big boys. I would love to take a day and a meal a week and spend it in prayer for them. (If not more!) My greatest hope and prayer is one day my whole family can share a love of Christ together.
words cant even begin to explain what something like this means…I just want to SEE GOD WORK in the LIVE OF THOSE I LOVE!!!!
My mother passed away in August and my father was just recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. My mother had made a profession of faith, but my father never has…I want to truly commit to praying for his and my brother’s salvation.
What a joy, honor, privilege, and blessing to be able to fast and pray for my family, my church, Sovereign Grace, and other needs I hear about. I agree with David Brainerd who wrote: “Blessed be God that I may pray.”! Thanks you four for providing this opportunity to pray and fast with and for others!
To pray for my mom.
I have been concerned about my younger brother’s salvation. He is a young teen that is in a Christian home, but I don’t see a heart that yearns for God. I have prayed for him off and on, but now I want to make the commitment to fast and pray before the Lord for him.
My immediate family has been awakened to the beauty and delight of God in Christ, but our relatives are still far off and constantly mock and ridicule us. I LONG for them to love the light and be saved! This will help me to regularly pray for them - especially my Gram, whom I love dearly.
UPDATE, 9:00 am: Wow! We’re thrilled that so many of you are joining the clubs! Due to the overwhelming traffic on our site, we’ve experienced a few technical glitches. Unfortunately, only a small fraction of entries are showing up at the moment. We’re so sorry! But signup is working and we are receiving all registrations. We’re seeking to resolve the problem and hope to have it fixed very soon; so check back to find your name in the order it was received. And if you won a Starbucks card, we’ll contact you shortly via email!
It’s club day, girls—let the fun begin! Check out our new clubs page and officially become a member of The 5 O’Clock Club and The FAM Club. You can share a testimony and read the testimonies of others. You can also read past posts on both clubs and see which of your friends have joined. And if you are one of the first 28 people to join (after the four of us) or in the 28th slot after that, we’ll send you a Starbucks card.
Our hope and prayer is that these clubs encourage you as you seek to rise early to meet with God and pray for those you love!
“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worth of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11
Janelle for the girltalkers
So, Monday’s the big day. Club signup will begin at 5 O’Clock am (EST) and if you’re taking the 28-day challenge, be sure to set your alarm (2 or 3 if need be) for whatever early time you want to get up! The way we figure it, after 28 days of rising early or 4 weeks of fasting once a week, these disciplines will be well-worn habits.
And join with your friends—that’s how we got started. Mom used to call the three of us each morning to wake us up; and we all used to fast on the same day of the week as well. As I poured my second cup of coffee or tried to ignore my growling stomach, it was nice to know my mom and sisters were too. And excuses don’t sound so noble when you tell a friend. So, sign up for the clubs together and hold each other accountable.
OK, we said there would be a prize for the first 28 people (not counting us) and every 28th person after that. You will each win a $5 Starbucks card!
Finally, to the funnies. We first posted this cute story after our initial FAM Club posts. It still makes me smile. Renee wrote in:
Just wanted to share a funny….now it is….. story about a friend who was fasting. I saw my friend in church. His face was scratched and had brushburns, bruises, scrapes, like when my son fell off his bike. I asked what happened and he said he was fasting and passed out!!
So much for trying not to have a disfigured face, and then everyone knows what you were doing…..
See you Monday, bright and early!
Nicole for the girls
First, to clarify: sign up for the clubs begins on Monday, along with the 28-day challenge. Monday morning we will direct you to a new page on the site with a sign-up form and all the information. Of course you can sign up for the clubs any day after Monday as well. Until then, we hope you will review our posts on The 5 O’Clock Club and The FAM Club and prayerfully consider joining one or both come Monday.
The FAM Club is all about praying and fasting one meal a week for the salvation of family members—whether they be children, parents, siblings, nieces or nephews. To encourage your participation, we have two stories to share with you. The first we received just the other day from Rachel:
My mom was a great mom. Loved God, her husband & her 4 kids. God in His wisdom took her home sooner than anyone would have expected, instantly in a car accident during my freshman year of college (1996). She was 44. I was 18. At her funeral service, several ladies contributed to her eulogy, most of the things they shared to honor her I already knew being her daughter. I was surprised when a close friend who lived with us shared something none of us kids ever knew! I’ll spare the long details of how our houseguest discovered the secret, but my Mom spent every Monday lunch for years fasting & praying for us kids & my dad. Once the friend discovered Mom’s secret, she was sworn to secrecy too. It was the best inheritance anyone could have handed me at her funeral. Many times as I see God at work in my life and my siblings, I wonder how many prayers my Mom didn’t know the answers to but prayed anyway and I am so glad she served us in that way! I can’t wait to “catch up” with her on the details!
What a legacy this godly mother left for her children! Rachel, thank you so much for sharing her story with us. I want to follow her example!
And I want to emulate the faith and faithful prayers of this mother, who prayed and fasted for her daughters’ salvation:
In a seaport town of New England lived a pious mother of six daughters. At the age of sixty, she had been for many years subject to disease and infirmity, which confined her to her house, and almost to her room. In an interview one day with a friend, she said—“I had not for many years enjoyed the pleasure of going to the house of God with his people, and taking sweet counsel with them. But I have another source of grief greater than this—one that weighs down my spirits day and night! while disease and pain bear my body toward the grave.” Her friend tenderly inquired the cause of this peculiar grief. She replied, “I have six daughters; two are married and live near me, and four are with me; but not one of them gives any evidence of piety. I am alone. I have no one for a Christian companion. O that even one of them were pious, that I might walk alone no longer.” Such was her language. Yet she seemed submissive to the will of God, whatever it might be, having strong confidence, that in his own good time, he would answer her daily prayers, and in a way which would best advance his glory.
Not long after the above interview, a revival of religion commenced in the town in which she lived. Among the first subjects of this work were four of her daughters. A fifth was soon added to their number, but the other, the eldest, remained unmoved. One day one of the young converts proposed to her mother and her converted sisters to observe a day of fasting and prayer for the sister who remained so insensible. The agreement was made, and a day observed. Of this the subject of their prayers had no knowledge. But on the same day, while engaged in her domestic concerns at home, her mind was solemnly arrested; and she was soon added to the Christian sisterhood.
The praying mother lived a few years to enjoy their Christian society. They surrounded her dying bed, received her last blessing, and unitedly commended her spirit to God.
Our hope and prayer for The FAM Club is that God would mercifully grant us many such testimonies of His saving power in the lives of family members. We hope you will join us!
In preparation for our 28-day challenge on Monday we want to introduce you to Julie, a long-time member of The 5 O’Clock Club. See if you can relate to her experience:
“When my sons were three years and nine months old, I reached a point of desperation. I was exhausted all the time, often getting up in the middle of the night to care for one or both boys. My morning wake-up time happened only when the boys were no longer quiet in their beds. At best, my passion for Christ was lukewarm. I was not enjoying the Holy Spirit’s presence on a day-to-day basis in my own home. Sinful attitudes such as anger and judgmentalism were at an all-time high, and my desire to fight sin was weak. I was not quick to humbly receive my husband’s counsel. I was not pursuing biblical fellowship. I felt isolated and alone. I had lost perspective on what my priorities were. In short, I was in emergency mode, and my time alone with the Lord was not in its proper place. Always so much to do—and never enough time to stop and give attention to my soul.”
In emergency mode. So much to do. No time for the Lord. Desperate. Alone. No doubt every woman—whether you are a mom, a student, or a businesswoman—can identify. We all want to be consistent to sit at Jesus’ feet. And yet it can seem impossible to find a slot in the schedule that we can maintain.
Dramatic action is needed. Enter the 5 O’Clock Club. For many of us, the only cure for our starving souls is to wake up early—or at least earlier than we currently do. It doesn’t have to be 5 O’Clock to join the club, just early enough to secure a regular time to sit at Jesus’ feet.
Here’s Julie again:
“I knew I needed to wake up earlier, but I kept telling myself that I’d never be able to do it. I dreaded the thought of failing yet again. Then it occurred to me that I made time for other things I considered important such as grocery shopping, showering, doing my makeup, eating, date night with my husband, spending time with friends. Was my love for God truly my highest priority? The realization: MY daily schedule was not reflective of a heart set on seeking God first. I needed to take radical measures. If I was going to have consistent and quality time with the Lord. It would need to happen before the rest of the family was up and before the day was rolling. If I waited until the boys always slept through the night or until everything was ideal, it would never happen.”
The consequences of a lackluster spiritual life and the advantages of rising early to seek God finally motivated our friend Julie to take action. She began having her husband nudge her awake and having a friend call her:
“Here we are, three years later, and I’m still waking up early—which for me is quite a miracle. I’ve never once regretted the days I’ve risen early. The boys are not five and three, and I am still aware of my desperate state, yet more aware of God’s grace. Having my early morning time with the Lord doesn’t eliminate my sin or guarantee the day will go as I have planned. But having received fresh perspective and vision, the day starts more peacefully. I now have a much richer understanding of the gospel of grace that transforms me, and I love Christ Jesus more today than every before.”
What a transformation! From desperate to dependent, from sporadic to consistent, from anger and anxiety to peace and perspective, from lukewarm affections to growing love for Christ—only because, by the grace of God, she chose to rise early and sit at Jesus’ feet.
So what radical measures do you need to take to consistently sit at Jesus’ feet? Maybe it’s time to take the 28-day challenge and join our crazy club on Monday! Together let’s develop a habit of rising early that can last a lifetime.