Every journey requires preparation. Where are you going? What will you need? And what should you leave behind? If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to theÃ‚Â grocery store, you need money and fuel. If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to the beach, you need a towel, sunblock, and a beach chair.
As Sunday morning approaches, it can be all too easy to give the corporate worship of the church less thought and preparation than that trip to the grocery store. Going to church can sadly become just another weekend activity. But should corporate worship be different? How should we prepare our hearts for the weekly gathering of GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s people? Here are a few suggestions.
Know Your Destination
The journey begins by knowing where youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going. The Preacher of Ecclesiastes implores his readers to Ã¢â‚¬Å“Guard your steps when you go to the house of GodÃ¢â‚¬Â (Ecclesiastes 5:1). For Christians, the church is the household of God as the Spirit builds us together into his dwelling place (Ephesians 2:19Ã¢â‚¬â€œ22). How we approach God in worship reveals what we think of the God that we worship.
We are willing to prepare for things we value. When we value celebrating God and gathering with his people, adequate and purposeful preparation is easy. But when we view the gathered church as merely another Sunday morning option, then we wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t properly prepare for the gathering.
Our weekly gatherings as the church are more than a social club, more than an experience, and more than a place to be recharged for the week. As people are united with Christ, we have new priorities, a new family, and a new life. Where are we going? We are going to meet with God, for when GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s people gather, God is there.
Prepare to Love Others
Once you know where youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going, you must determine what you need to get there. One thing we need to begin the journey is renewed thinking about God. Our view of God shapes our engagement in corporate worship.GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Spirit uses our meditation on GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s word to renew our thinking about God. Often, I wake up with a hard heart first thing in the morning. I am not automatically excited about the things of God. This is not necessarily a sign of dead spirituality, but simply the natural disposition of the fallen human heart.
So, what should we do? We should contemplate the incomparable majesty of God that makes angels cover their eyes (Isaiah 6:2), rivers clap their hands, and hills sing for joy (Psalm 98:8).Ã‚Â Contemplate GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s infinite love by considering how God who created everything was so mindful of you that He sent His Son to die in your place. Contemplate the everlasting rest to come for the believer: all exhaustion, cancer, and despair will be forever gone, and we will be in the very presence of the One Who is Himself the fullness of joy. Contemplate the things we cannot see that await us Ã¢â‚¬â€ like the crown of glory and the full and final satisfaction that will be ours.
Second, we take one another on this journey. A worship service is not exclusively a vertical praising of God. It is also horizontal building up of the body of Christ. As you gather on Sunday morning, consider how you might encourage others. Pray that God would give you words to say, Scriptures to share, and specific encouragement to offer to his people. This was PaulÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s expectation of the Corinthian church:Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building upÃ¢â‚¬Â (1 Corinthians 14:26).
When we gather with the people of God, we should prepare to contribute, encourage, and build up others. Think through the individuals in your small group or on the ministry team you serve with, or just pull out your church directory and pray for the people in your local church.
Covenant Prayer Life Assembly, 6, Unity Crescent, off Olatunji Street, Ladipo, Oshodi, Lagos. Contact us on 08034849689, or e-mail: Covenantradiotv@gmail.com