How to prepare yourself for the Sunday morning service

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Whitby Baptist Church, c.1913

Image by Whitby Archives via Flickr

This is a good post from Pastor John Piper (taken from DesiringGod.org). The article was written back in 1998 but just like the Bible, the words stand true through out ages and many generations.

Note: This actually applies to Sunday afternoon and evening as well :)

How to prepare for the Sunday morning service

1. Pray that God would give you a good and honest heart.

The heart we need is a work of God. That’s why we pray for it. Ezekiel 36:26, “I will give you a new heart.” Jeremiah 24:7, “I will give them a heart to know Me.” Let’s pray, “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.”

2. Meditate on the Word of God.

Psalm 34:8, “O taste and see that the LORD is good.” On Saturday night read some delicious portion of your Bible with a view to stirring up hunger for God. This is the appetizer for Sunday morning’s meal.

3. Purify your mind by turning away from worldly entertainment.

James 12:1, “Putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.” It astonishes me how many Christians watch the same banal, empty, silly, trivial, titillating, suggestive, immodest TV shows that most unbelievers watch. This makes us small and weak and worldly and inauthentic in worship. Instead, turn off the television on Saturday night and read something true and great and beautiful and pure and honorable and excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). Your heart will unshrivel and be able to feel greatness again.

4. Trust in the truth that you already have.

The hearing of the word of God that fails during trial has no root (Luke 8:13). What is the root we need? It is trust. Jeremiah 17:7-8 says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream.” Trusting in the truth you already have is the best way to prepare yourself to receive more.

5. Rest long enough Saturday night to be alert and hopeful Sunday morning.

1 Corinthians 6:12, “All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything.” I am not laying down any law here. I am saying there are Saturday night ways that ruin Sunday morning worship. Don’t be enslaved by them. Without sufficient sleep, our minds are dull, our emotions are flat, our proneness to depression is higher, and our fuses are short. My counsel decide when you must get up on Sunday in order 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 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 in your mind. I especially exhort parents to teach teenagers that Saturday is NOT the night to stay out late with friends. If there is a special late night, make it Friday. It is a terrible thing to teach children that worship is so optional that it doesn’t matter if you are exhausted when you come.

6. Forebear one another Sunday morning without grumbling and criticism.

Psalm 106:25, “They grumbled in their tents; they did not listen to the voice of the LORD.” Sunday morning grumbling and controversy and quarreling can ruin a worship service for a family. When there is something you are angry about or some conflict that you genuinely think needs to be talked about, forebear. Of course if you are clearly the problem and need to apologize, do it as quickly as you can (Matthew 5:23-24). But if you are fuming because of children or spouse delinquency, forebear, that is, be slow to anger and quick to listen (James 1:19). In worship open yourself to God’s exposing the log in your own eye. It may be that all of you will be humbled and chastened so that no conflict is necessary.

7. Be meek and teachable when you come.

James 12:1 “In meekness receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.” Meekness and teachability are not gullibility. You have your Bible and you have your brain. Use them. But if we come with a chip on our shoulder and a suspicion of the preaching week after week, we will not hear the Word of God. Meekness is a humble openness to God’s truth with a longing to be changed by it.

8. Be still as you enter the room and focus your mind’s attention and heart’s affection on God.

Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” As we enter the sanctuary, let us “come on the lookout for God and leave on the lookout for people.” Come with a quiet passion to seek God and his power. We will not be an unfriendly church if we are aggressive in our pursuit of God during the prelude and aggressive in our pursuit of visitors during the postlude.

9. Think earnestly about what is sung and prayed and preached.

1 Corinthians 14:20, “Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature”. So Paul says to Timothy, “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything” (2 Timothy 2:7). Anything worth hearing is worth thinking about. If you would take heed how you hear, think about what you hear.

10. Desire the Truth of God’s Word more than you desire riches or food.

1 Peter 2:2 “Like newborn babies, desire the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” As you sit quietly and pray and meditate on the text and the songs, remind yourself of what Psalm 19:10-11 says about the Words of God “More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.

Pastor John

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Michael Aulia is a Christian blogger who lives in Australia. He is the owner of WriteForGod.com and also CravingTech.com
  • RicksWorld

    The very first sentence in #1 contradicts the whole rest of the article. Sorry, but I don't think you have to spend time “preparing” to worship God. The time you spent preparing could have been spent thanking God in your heart for His many blessings through the week. Here we are in #3, criticizing other Christians, which of course is addressed in #6. I say “Suit up, and Show up” with a thankful heart and worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.

    • http://www.CravingTech.com Michael Aulia

      Well “Suit up and Show up” won't happen unless you are “preparing” yourself to meet God. Even thinking about and thanking God for all of His blessings for the week is also considered a “preparation” to come and worship God on Sunday.

      You can't thank and worship God fully if you still have a big grudge or hatred

  • http://www.CravingTech.com/ Michael Aulia @CravingTech.com

    Well “Suit up and Show up” won’t happen unless you are “preparing” yourself to meet God. Even thinking about and thanking God for all of His blessings for the week is also considered a “preparation” to come and worship God on Sunday.nnYou can’t thank and worship God fully if you still have a big grudge or hatred in your heart

  • RicksWorld

    The very first sentence in #1 contradicts the whole rest of the article. Sorry, but I don't think you have to spend time “preparing” to worship God. The time you spent preparing could have been spent thanking God in your heart for His many blessings through the week. Here we are in #3, criticizing other Christians, which of course is addressed in #6. I say “Suit up, and Show up” with a thankful heart and worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.

  • http://www.CravingTech.com Michael Aulia

    Well “Suit up and Show up” won't happen unless you are “preparing” yourself to meet God. Even thinking about and thanking God for all of His blessings for the week is also considered a “preparation” to come and worship God on Sunday.

    You can't thank and worship God fully if you still have a big grudge or hatred

  • Dzandu Edem

    Am greatly impressed, and moved by your article. I have learnt a lot so i have bookmarked this page. God Bless you.  

    With my little suggestion, please can you give a different background to the website? this color make it difficult to read and even the links do not appear well in character. I am going to start applying what you have written because it is so valuable.God Bless you.Prince Dzandu

    • http://www.CravingTech.com/ Michael Aulia @CravingTech.com

      Thanks, Dzandu. Looking forward to connect more with you through the comments on my posts in the future :)

      Hm it looks fine from a few computers that I’ve tried. May I know what your Windows resolution is and the browser +version that you are using?

  • Mtasi5

    hallo Friends
    hope you all fine so now I wold like to contribute on the topic on how to prepare you self on Sunday morning
    1.when you work up on the Sunday morning make sure you have time with God by prayer ask God to touch your Heart on the day ask for his Favour to be upon you.
    2.Ask the Holy spirit to help you to worship the Lord in spirit and truth because in Jeremiah we are told “it is not by Strength or by power but it is by the Holy Spirit”.

    • http://www.CravingTech.com/ Michael Aulia @CravingTech.com

      Thanks for contributing, Mtasi5 :)

  • mrsbhv

    Add – pray for others to attend with you.  Pray for all the people within one mile of your church.  Pray that they may just walk in and begin to attend with you.  Remember the various conditions of the heart that this may bring:  the curious long time believer new to the area, the soul longing and in search of salvation, the friendly, the born-again just brand new believer who feels s/he needs a fellowship and even the holidayer just looking for a place to worship for a week or two.  Then of course there is the hasseled and ragged who are searching for help and Godly counsel concerning a personal problem.  Ask God to help you sincerely welcome visitors.