Preparation

What helps you prepare for worship?

That’s the first question. Sometimes I write a “HeartWorship” item for my church bulletin and order-of-worship sheet that attempts to encourage preparation for the worship to come and is usually tied to the theme of the Sunday morning message, songs, scriptures and table thoughts. (I reproduce them on this blog, though many of you don’t really get the benefit of the connection to our worship at at my home church!)

Some folks say it helps. I know it helps me, writing them. It helps me reading others’ submissions to the “HeartWorship” series.

Are there things that you do, read, listen to, watch, meditate upon, or otherwise encounter/participate in that heighten your sensitivity/anticipation of the worship hour to come?

And the second question is like unto it … but I’m going to hold it for a later blog entry.

(Don’t be shy about adding later thoughts to the preceding entry’s questions! They’re important!)

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4 thoughts on “Preparation

  1. I am tempted for the first time to post anonymously but I won’t.I think writing the series would prepare me more than reading. I like to have some time of quiet meditation before entering “worship service”. I am torn becasue I truly enjoy the fellowship time we have and the meet and greet part is good for visitors, but it often takes my focus off of what is next to come.I often listen to some of my favorite sing-along music on the way to church, that helps. And having a thoughtful Bible study time helps, but if the class gets a little too off topic or “chatty” towards the end I lose that focus.One thing I have enjoyed (but we don’t do it at my church) is reading scripture out loud as a group. That gets me involved and puts the focus in the right place.

  2. Somehow, somewhere, over the years, the “Magic” of “Worship Service” stopped “Doing Anything Special” for me. Sorry for all the quotes…Part of most of my prayers these days is that God will let me bring honor to him somehow by what I say or do, whether it’s at work or whereever. I think this and the above are the results of a conscious (if not always successful) effort to uncompartmentalize my walk with Jesus.I say all of this realizing that my brothers and sisters in the first century, still having strong Jewish ceremonial ties, would look at me like I had a third eyeball if they heard me say it. But I honestly do not “do” (there with the quotes again!) anything to prepare for Corporate Worship Services.In my mind, the conversations I have at these meetings are as much part of my worship as is singing “We Praise Thee, O God.”

  3. I am part of the worship band, so preparing for heartworship has a whole other set of issues (much like preachers, musicians also have the performance/worship balancing act). One thing that helps me is that the first part of our service–whether words or songs–usually focuses on God alone. It may be loud and praisy or soft and contemplative, but the direction is made clear. Funny thing is, when I am not playing in the band I have a harder time. In those times I intentionally tell myself that it’s not about me it’s about God.So, maybe the best heart preparation is longterm education of the people about what worship is. Too often we (and I really mean ‘we’) think it’s about some sort of self-comforting/self-challenging thing, when in fact it’s not really about us at all. When a good number of the people know what worship is all about, peer pressure alone helps the others move into the worship space

  4. Again, you’ve got some excellent comments here, already, that I wholeheartedly agree with from all 3 commenters.I have long lived as Mark expresses above in trying to daily and constantly honor God with all I say and do. It was about 15 years ago or more that I started the practice of having silence in the car as I commuted an hour or so each way to New Orleans to law school and then work so that I could pray and meditate and sometimes sing hymns.I have the advantage of being able to do the same thing on my way to Tammany Oaks each Sunday because it is about a 25 to 30 minute drive and I find it very effective.Sometimes I will also listen to “songs, hymns” and spiritual songs and music in the car, instead. That includes a cappella, classical religious music, such as Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem Mass, religious music by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, etc. and other contemporary artists. (One of my best CDs is Willie Nelson singing only religious music and hymns, actually, that my mom bought me on one of my visits to Abilene. It’s just great.)All of the above I’d say have to do with preparing the mind and soul in various ways and I am very conscious of working on that, even once I get to the assembly, as Donna was talking about. One way I do that is by, in my mind, setting aside the entire DAY of Sunday most of the time (not every week, but nearly) to spiritual service of varying kinds. I do this even if I’m at home, unable to get out. It makes a big difference for me in how I think and act on that day each week.Again, my thoughts – for what they’re worth . . ..

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