Easter is literally just around the corner and church leaders are gearing up for one of the most visitor and alumni attendance Sundays of the year. There’s so much to do: neighborhood Easter Egg hunts to organize; the Easter Cantata to publicize; ecumenical (or not) Easter Sunrise Services to coordinate; visitor follow-up programs to massage; and of course, there’s the Easter Worship Service itself. The church building needs to be in tip-top order, the music has to be top-shelf, and the sermon…well, that’s going to take some time. With all that going, it’s an easy thing to get so busy this time of year that the metaphor of spring, the reality of the resurrection, and the real reason for this season can be forgotten.

When was the last time you took a half hour or more to just sit and pray? Not sit and pray and plan. Not drive and pray. Not pray about your sermon…or about anything in particular. Just praying to spend time with God, to listen and, mostly, to be with God.

Fitting that kind of time into your schedule can seem daunting when it seems that just about everyone wants a piece of you and you have more to-dos on your list than you have spam emails in your inbox. And yet…spiritual leaders who aren’t spending significant time with God are neither spiritual nor leaders. Oh sure, you may have followers, but didn’t Jesus say something about the blind leading the blind?

So, here are five-plus opportunities to squeeze in that half-hour appointment with God.

1. Get up early. Okay, everyone suggests that and frankly, most of us go to bed later than we ought to. Do we really need to close our eyes with the last thoughts on our minds put there by Jay Leno, David Letterman, or Jon Stewart? Early to bed, early to rise, makes one a greater spiritual leader.

2. Stay up late…or turn off the TV earlier. Consider the latter before the former.

3. Fast during lunch…or eat an energy bar instead…and spend the time in prayer.

4. Postpone, cancel, or skip at least one pointless (or near pointless) meeting.

5. Choose mass transit instead of driving and spend the time in prayer.

5+ Embrace a “Spend-Nothing” Day (don’t buy anything at all) and spend the time you’ll save not shopping, surfing E-Bay, etc. in prayer.

I’ll have one more coming on Carte Blanche Church.