I get up 4:20 AM every day, including Saturdays and Sundays, and get to church at around 5 AM. I spend the next 3 hours praying, mostly for church members, and for breakfast I eat a fruit and vegetable smoothie lovingly prepared for me by my wife. I spend the rest of the day at church.
Thursday is the only day I get up late as it’s my day off. Sunday is the busiest day of the week for a pastor. But business does not stop at the end of Sunday. I attend various meetings on Monday evenings, such as monthly meetings with shepherds or events for some of the Bible study groups. On Tuesday evenings I lead an introductory Bible class. On Wednesday evenings we have our mid-week prayer meetings. By the end of Wednesday I feel pretty tired. But with the extra 1 or 2 hours of sleep I get on Thursday, I’m able to recover quickly, thanks to God. The fact that I don’t need to get up early seems to make me relaxed and helps me to recover from fatigue.
Even Thursdays are not completely free. I spend the morning writing, including the English version of the Pastor’s Corner. I also prepare parts of the Sunday sermons. I work very efficiently during this time, possibly because of the different environment.
I want to thank our church members for respecting my off day. They do not ask to see me or call me on Thursdays. However, it is still rare for me to spend the whole day at home. I make visitations on Thursdays when shepherds make a special request to visit one of their house church members. I have lunch with shepherd candidates on Thursday when there are too many of them waiting to be appointed. I meet visiting missionaries on Thursday as well. They usually arrive around Wednesday so they can give a testimony at the Wednesday evening prayer meeting. I usually fast on Wednesdays. So if I want to have a meal with them it usually needs to be on a Tuesday or Thursday.
Most pastors take Mondays off. Some time ago I decided to take Thursdays off so I can start the weekend refreshed. How I spend Thursdays has evolved over the years. When I first came to Houston, I got up at my usual time and only took a half day off. A few years later I started to pray through the night on Wednesday until early dawn on Thursday and took the rest of the day off. But the years are catching up with me, and as I get older, I find that I can no longer keep up with this schedule. So now I pray late into the night on Wednesday, but not all the way until dawn.
As we start a third Sunday worship service I will be pretty tired at the end of the day. In light of this, I briefly considered switching my off day from Thursday to Monday. But I decided against it. I will get up 1 hour later and pray 1 hour longer.
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