Preparing Our Hearts For Worship
When asked to do a three part series on worship, numerous topics came to mind as I sat down to start writing. What would be helpful to talk about? How do I prepare for writing these posts? And that’s when I thought this: if I need to prepare for writing this, how much more important is it for me to prepare my heart for corporate worship? So, this week we are going to look at preparing our hearts. Then next week we will talk through expression in our worship and end the third week discussing a few of the more controversial “preference” issues regarding corporate worship today.
Back in 2005, my wife and I went on a mission trip to Cuba and served in various ways. Our prayers during that time were that lives would be changed in this country, and that we could help spread the gospel to many who are living in oppression and extreme poverty. While I continue to pray that we were successful in this, my heart will never be the same because of the joy, reverence and gratefulness that the Cubans so humbly put on display each and every day. The reason that I bring this up is because of the affect that it had in my life. These people would wake up very early and walk miles on a Sunday morning to gather and fellowship while being fed by the Word of God. The first thing that each one of them did was to go directly to their seat, kneel down, and pray, giving thanks to God that they had made it and to show their reverence to a Holy God. They prepared their hearts and focused on Him!
If you are like me, Sunday mornings oftentimes present a difficult opportunity to focus in on God due to either children not wanting to obey, or the a/c not working where you meet in July in Florida, trying to recover from staying up late with friends and family, or just being weighed down by a rough week circumstantially. How am I supposed to flip a switch and jump right into singing praises to God? I believe that everything we have faced during the week, including Sunday morning, is all preparation for corporately gathering together with the rest of the body of Christ to bring Him praise, and to be led and fed spiritually. All of life is meant to be in worship of God. He created us as worshipers! It’s a matter of choice throughout the week as to what or whom we worship.
All of my choices during the week, all of my circumstances during the week must be informed by who God is and what He has done for me. What are you choosing to feed yourself with during the week? Is it serving you in a way that encourages and points you to the cross of Christ, or is it feeding the desires of the flesh? What kind of entertainment are you absorbing through your eyes and ears? There is no neutral ground here in regards to the Kingdom of God!
We have been called to bear the image of God and that doesn’t just include Sunday mornings by putting on your best act to impress those around you, or to keep them from asking what’s wrong, or the inevitable question, “How can I pray for you?” We are to be fed by reading the Word, listening to the Word preached, and by the fellowship that we have throughout the week. What does that look like for you? What does that look like when no one else is looking? Worship is not a show; it is the overflow of our hearts in response to Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross taking our sin and shame away and counting us righteous! Our lives should be in preparation for an eternity falling on our faces and singing to Him who is worthy and holy along with all of the saints that have gone before us and will be added until He returns!
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