In all truth, I have been preparing since at least mid-week, and even longer still. Still wrestling with the skimming heart-practices that fall short of God’s glory and desire, I am looking toward tomorrow and asking: Am I ready? Is my heart prepared? I don’t want to skim in worship.
God is always with me, He is always with us. He abides in us. (John 14:15ff) My whole life is a living worship. But the Lord’s Day, this once weekly meeting time is special. It is to be a unified, coming together of grace-covered souls that remember, that GIVE, that OFFER to God what is due Him. This special time is not a time of taking, of need-filling. This is to be a time set apart. It is a time of trust-filled worship that empties self. This loving trust knows that God will fill our needs and then lays them aside with quiet confidence to focus instead on Him.
What sacrifices shall I bring? What do we, as a body, bring? What are our “burnt offerings” whose aromas rise to the nostrils of God and smell right and good?
Today I am preparing my heart because I know that tomorrow my humanity will want to bend to the earth-demands of schedule, routine, and hurry. I know my thoughts will want to be more of me and less of Him. So I get ready today. And the days before. I plan to get up on time so hurry doesn’t strain my focus. I determine in my heart that no to-do list or retail need will distract me. No dissatisfaction with plans or fellow souls will diminish my concentration. No social connection or lack of it will derail my thoughts. No heart-hurt or concern will turn my focus inward. I walk with God in those every day, so I can lay them aside for a time.
I pray that those that lead us in this sacred time are deliberate, thoughtful, and open their hearts up to the Spirit. I pray they select songs of praise and repentance, love and adoration. I pray that they lead our lips and hearts with deep joy and infectious passion and don’t distract us with conversation, musical technicalities, or a casual air. I also pray for those that gather us around the Lord’s Table in remembrance of Christ and His sacrifice. I pray they will help us recall God’s grace deeply. As God’s words are read from His Book, I pray that I, that we, will drink of them deeply, as refreshment for parched souls.
May this time be less about me and us and more about YOU, Oh God!
Getting ready over here (and looking for you!).
Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me,
and to the blameless I will show my salvation.” Psalm 50:23
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. Hebrews 13:15
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1,2
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: A broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Psalm 51:17