Worship is the greatest priority of ALL creation. God calls for all of His creation to recognize His greatness and goodness (Ps 117). Worship is where creation finds fulfillment. We were made to worship our Creator. Still, this beautiful calling is a dangerous one because God not only cares that we worship, but how we worship (see Exod 20:4–6; Deut 12; John 4:24).
One of God’s expectations is that we come to Him on Sunday with a properly oriented heart (Pss 15; 95:6–11; 131). God does not merely care that we externally worship Him, but that our internal condition is in the right place. God demands reverence as our Almighty Creator and great Redeemer. Yes, we are His children, but that does not mean our worship cheapens.
Approaching God in worship requires our preparation. Here are a few ways to orient your heart prior to Sunday.
#1: Daily Immerse Yourself in the Word. I’ve heard it said that sitting under weekly preaching means nothing if you are not daily immersing yourself in God’s Word. Therefore, the maintenance of basic spiritual disciplines helps prepare us for our corporate weekly gathering. What happens on Sunday should be a reflection of what you do on a regular or daily basis.
#2: Pray. You should be praying; more specifically, you should be praying for the corporate gathering. Pray for your pastors and deacons. Pray for those who will be leading the congregation. Also, do not merely pray, but pray for the proper things. Pray for the holiness of your leaders and fellow church members (cf. 1 Tim 2:8). Reach out to them and ask for prayer requests and pray for their sanctification. The holiness of those involved in the worship service is a benefit to the entire congregation.
#3: Review. Many churches streamline the songs and Scripture passages to align with the sermon text. f your church practices expository preaching it would be helpful to review the previous week’s order of worship because the upcoming service will likely be related to the previous in many ways.
#4: Anticipate. If your church publishes their order of worship during the week utilize it as a spiritual resource. You will be able to pray better and review the upcoming Scripture passages. A measured and prepared order of worship put into the hands of the people can give them great hope and anticipation for the worship service. This helps us fight the temptation that spontaneity is the greatest experience in worship.
#5: Rest. We live in a world of demands, especially on the weekends. But Christians ought to prioritize the best things over good things. The older I get the more I realize that I have to make wiser choices with how I spend my time, resources, and energy. That means sacrifices need to be made and those sacrifices are determined by my priorities. I need to make sure I get proper rest in order to get the most out of the Sunday gatherings in my local church. I want my mind and body to be alert and ready to love God and serve others.
Well, those are some thoughts on preparing and maximizing your time prior to Sunday worship. I do not see these things as hard and fast rules, but I see them as biblical wise practices that help keep our hearts and minds focused on our highest priority.
What do you do to prepare for Sunday worship?