11 December 2012

Preparing for Worship

Worship is obviously of interest to me. I co-wrote a book titled Children in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship. Nearly every day I tweet quotes regarding the proper worship of our holy God. So, I offer a few thoughts here on a much-ignored topic. How can I prepare myself to worship with a congregation on Sunday, the Lord's Day?

Our gatherings for corporate worship on Sunday are the most important assembly of the week. These meetings of the saints should be filled with joy, celebration, and learning. Throughout the course of the week we should be preparing for worship on Sunday.

Here are just a few suggestions
  • Prepare for worship by spending time in prayer for the services. Throughout the week, it would benefit everyone to take extra time in prayer.   Pray especially for the preaching of the Word, the people who will be there, and for your heart to be prepared for the receiving of God’s Word. 
  • Study the text that will be preached.  In many churches, a schedule of the sermon texts can be found at the congregation's website.If not, ask the pastor (or his secretary, if he should have one).
  • Arrive prepared to listen attentively—with your eyes, ears, and heart. With your eyes, you should be focused on the central theme of the worship service. With your ears, you should be carefully listening to the message, prayers, and songs. Finally, the heart should be focused on growing in the Lord and self examination. 
  • Come equipped to listen. A Christian should bring his/her Bible to worship services – and a pen or pencil, or electronic instrument which can serve as both Bible and note-taking device. Outlines are often provided for Sunday morning sermons.
  • Be ready to fellowship. The purpose of the corporate gathering is not only to hear the preaching of God’s Word, partake in prayer and the breaking of bread, but also to fellowship with one another. Be quick to encourage other members of the body in the Lord and to greet visitors. 
  • If at all possible, come rested. I know that this isn’t always possible, especially for families with young children. But you DO have control over your Saturday night schedule.
Being prepared for worship will enhance the experience. But remember that worship is not about us. It's about God. John 4:24 doesn't say anything about enjoying ourselves (although it certainly doesn't ban enjoyment). Worship is not intended to be a spectator sport or an entertainment spectacular. We are to worship in spirit and in truth. Preparation and prayer will enhance our ability to do so.

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