If you are like me, then you assume that the best way to rest before a big day is by staying up late, watching Netflix, maybe eating some ice cream, and having a conversation with friends. Now don’t get me wrong. Those things can be God honoring and helpful. But, does it help our preparation for Sunday? Are we staying up so late that we can barely focus during a sermon? Does our lack of preparation cause us to be late on Sundays and stumble in without any reverence to encountering Christ?
We recently looked at Psalm 15 as a church. What a counter-cultural way to consider preparing for worship! The Psalm describes a time when a worshipper would make their way up the dusty streets of Jerusalem toward the hill, an elevated place in the center of Jerusalem where the temple of Yahweh stood. It was there they would confess their sins, offer sacrifices, and commune with God. In this psalm, David models the worshipper’s approach asking, “O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?” (15:1). You can feel his reverence: Is anyone fit to pass through God’s house? To live on your holy hill? In another place, search me, try me, know my ways O God. It’s rare to find this kind preparation for worship today.
So what are we to do? Let’s take some queues from Psalm 15 in preparing to worship. Here are some ways:
Pray for the time you are about to have with your church family. Pray that it would be spiritually formative. Pray that your heart would be softened and your ears would be attentive to what Christ has for you.
“O Lord, give me a heart for you. Give me a good and honest heart. Give me a soft and receptive heart. Give me a humble and meek heart. Give me a fruitful heart. Give me a heart for you.”
In a city like Austin, we are guilty of running ourselves into the ground with events. John Piper explains before Sundays, “decide when you must get up to have time to eat, get dressed, pray and meditate on the Word, prepare the family, and travel to church; and then compute backward eight hours (or whatever you know you need) and be sure that you are in bed 15 minutes before that. Read your Bible in bed and fall asleep with the Word of God on your lips and in your mind.” This can be very formative for children and teenagers. Teaching that Sunday worship is of value, teaches that you value gathering around the risen Christ and shows you take it seriously
Be Still and Know
“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). May we enter our Sunday gatherings with a knowledge of Christ and his gloriousness. As you enter take a seat, begin to reflect on the work Jesus has done. Be still and know that he is God, and you are his child.
This kind of preparation is not just for church leadership, but for all of us; whether serving to set up the environment for worship through Create and Restore or planning to teach the younger generation in Kids Life. If our only responsibility is to enjoy a warm cup of coffee and sing praises to God, this is true for us. This coming Sunday let’s approach the throne of Grace with reverence, joy, and confidence because Jesus is worthy to be prized.