Practicing the spiritual discipline of Sabbath rest can be so rewarding and enjoyable. And yet it can also be challenging. There are even some days when it can be hard to get into the swing of resting. Believe it or not, we (as humans) tend to resist just stopping and being still. Which is why God introduced the concept of Sabbath margin from the beginning of creation (Genesis 2:2-3) and as a commandment (Exodus 20:8-11): because He knew we both would need rest and that we would resist it!
Just like with any other day, if you get off on the wrong foot, then you can spend the rest of the day struggling to get into the right mindset (and in this case that mindset would be for rest). However, with a little planning you can set up your Sabbath morning with restful routines that can set the stage for the remainder of the day to be intentionally filled with the physical and spiritual rest your body, mind, and soul needs.
The Biblical Sabbath Day of Rest
But before I start getting into some great Sabbath morning routines you can establish in your day I want to clarify something. First off, I have nothing against worshiping God and engaging in fellowship with other Christians any day of the week: whether that is Saturday or Sunday or Wednesday or anywhere in between. Our God is worthy of praise everyday and so we should be worshiping him everyday!
But I want to be clear that the weekly Sabbath Day of Rest described in the Bible is very clearly defined as the seventh day of the week (see Genesis 2:2-3 and Exodus 20:8-11), which to this day remains as Saturday. In other languages the word for Saturday still translates as Sabbath. The day was never changed in the Bible (believe me, I looked).
The Sabbath as the seventh day was kept by both Jews and Gentiles, until around 120 AD when the persecution of the Jews became so great that many Christians in some areas decided to start keeping Sunday, so as to try to differentiate themselves from the Jews, who were still faithfully keeping the Sabbath of the Lord. It wasn’t until well after 400 AD when Sunday eventually took on the name of the Lord’s Day.
But that’s a topic for a whole other post. I just wanted to clarify that the day of Sabbath rest I’m referring to here in this blog post is the Biblical seventh day Sabbath (aka Saturday). And you need to know that, because you won’t be able to do some of these things if you’re heading off to an early morning church service. 😉
Establishing restful Sabbath morning routines
So whether you go to church on Sunday or not, having a restful Saturday Sabbath is still something you can observe as a Christian family. And it all begins first thing in the morning. Let’s explore some restful and intentional Sabbath morning routine ideas that can help you and your family to get into a restful mindset.
Allow yourself to sleep in (if the kids will let you)
This isn’t something I’m always able to do, and sometimes I opt to do a few of the other things on this list instead of sleeping in. But there are some Sabbath mornings that my kids must already be in the Sabbath mindset, because they gloriously let me sleep for an extra little bit. And on Sabbath mornings…I take it! Because this day is a day of rest for your spirit, but also for your body. And having one day each week that you can sleep in a little bit is something special to look forward to and enjoy.
Watch the sunrise with a nice hot cup of coffee (or tea)
Now, if you opt to sleep in you can’t enjoy the sunrise. But every Sabbath doesn’t have to look exactly the same. And sometimes giving yourself the gift of watching the peaceful sunrise with your cozy coffee (or tea) in hand can be such a nice way to set up your Sabbath for restful success. Enjoying and appreciating God’s incredible hand on creation is such a wondrous form of worship. While you watch the sunrise meditate on verses like Psalm 113:3, Job 38:12, and others that talk about the sunrise and how it is God’s glorious hand that makes it rise. Starting your day with this kind of rest and worship is sure to help you to focus on and embrace God’s gift of rest all Sabbath day long.
Turn your phone off (or at least turn alerts off)
I’ll admit that this is one I’m wanting to do more of. But sometimes our phones can be so distracting. We can get so caught up in checking our phones for Facebook, Email, or whatever other alerts we might have on them. And it can distract us from the rest we need to have for the Sabbath day. While I’m not claiming that it’s breaking God’s commandment to have your phone on during the Sabbath, turning your phone off can certainly help you to focus more on resting, your family, and most importantly God. But if you don’t want to completely turn your phone off, then why not compromise and turn off alerts, then stick your phone somewhere not as easily accessible (like on top of the fridge)? However you decide to do it, taking a rest from your phone for the day (as much as you can) can prove very beneficial and refreshing.
Take a nice long shower or bath
Before the kids get up, hop into the shower or tub for a nice long, slow shower or bath. Nothing sets the stage for the day better than such a simple and yet underappreciated routine. If you’re a mom of young kids then you know that having an uninterrupted shower is a luxury and setting margin in your Sabbath morning for such a simple pleasure can help set the tone of rest and stillness for the your entire Sabbath day.
Start the day with prayer and God’s Word
Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28-30 to come to Him all who are weary and He will give you rest. Sabbath rest isn’t just about physical rest. There is a spiritual rest that we all need to regularly have in our lives. A rest from the world where we lean into God and set aside the things of the world. So starting the Sabbath day of rest with deep prayer and Bible study is a great way to start your day with spiritual rest in mind.
Crank up the worship music (from morning ’til night)
Having powerful and meaningful worship music on can really do wonders for your attitude of praise. It can boost your spirit and help you and your family to maintain a mindset of worship all throughout the day. Even if you’re not able to keep it on all day long, having it on throughout the day can make a big difference in your Sabbath. So wake up, turn it on, crank it up, and make a joyful noise unto the Lord!
Have a big special breakfast as a family
Every family is different, but for our family we don’t often have breakfast as a family. My husband goes off to work really early and he typically isn’t even a big breakfast person at all. He doesn’t usually like to eat until the early afternoon. But after we established doing a big special breakfast every Sabbath morning, he has really embraced it and it’s been an opportunity for us to start the day with something special, different, and extra nourishing. Which helps to set the rest day up to be spiritually and physically nourishing as well.
Listen to a sermon, Bible study, or the Christian Torah portion at breakfast
Along with our big special Sabbath breakfast, we have a routine where we listen to the Christian Torah portion (you can find it here) while eating our breakfast. The Christian Torah portion basically goes through three sections of the Bible each week: 1. A portion from the Torah (aka the first 5 books of the Bible — Genesis through Deuteronomy. It is believed that these books were not only inspired by God like the rest of the Bible, but directly dictated to Moses by God), 2. A portion from one of the books of the prophets that relates to the Torah portion, and 3. A portion from the gospels that relates to the Torah and prophets portion. But even if you don’t read the Torah portion, there are lots of great Bible studies and sermons that you can listen to at breakfast with your family. And doing so can really help to put everyone into a God-centered mindset for the day.
Take the rest of the day S.L.O.W.
Now that you’ve set the stage for a special Sabbath day of deep and meaningful physical and spiritual rest, make sure you continue in that same mindset for the rest of the day. Take things slowly, don’t rush through the day. Try to let the little things roll off your back, put off chores that can wait for another day, and allow yourself and your family to just enjoy each other and this special time with God together. Maintain an attitude of stillness and slowness all day long and enjoy every moment intentionally.
Start your Sabbath Day right with these Sabbath morning routines
There are no specific things that you have to do on the Sabbath. The only commands God gives us in regards to the Sabbath is to rest and do no work (Exodus 20:8-11). Considering work is a very subjective thing, it can be hard to know exactly what’s okay or not. Which is why I think it’s important to observe the Sabbath with the spirit of it in mind: to rest both physically and spiritually. So long as you are striving to accept the gift of God’s Sabbath with open arms, He will be pleased with your obedience.
And getting the day off on the right foot with restful and intentional Sabbath morning routines can get you into the right mindset for rest, worship, and stillness. Which will help you to find refreshment and ready yourself for a new week.
I pray that these Sabbath morning routine ideas help you to have a more restful and enjoyable Sabbath and if you have any other ideas or special things you like to do Saturday morning I’d love to hear them, just leave your thoughts in the comments below!
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