In any area of life there is one ingredient that is absolutely necessary for success. It’s called “preparation”. Responsible parents spend 18 plus years preparing their children for Adulthood. Those who succeed in the fields of education, medicine, law, ministry, music, engineering, etc. spend four to 10 years or more beyond High School preparing for their life’s work. In sports preparation is essential to winning.
Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe” Colin Powell said, “There are no secrets to success It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”
If preparation is essential to success in the secular world, is it not also necessary in the spiritual world The Prophet Amos said, “Prepare to meet your God!” (Amos 4:12). It is clear that the Prophet was calling upon Israel to prepare for eternity. The Bible tells us how to do that. We must recognize our sins, confess them to God, repent, ask God’s forgiveness and receive Jesus Christ into our lives by faith. Someone has wisely observed that the acronym for BIBLE is BASIC INFORMATION BEFORE LEAVING EARTH. Nothing is more important or essential for the security of our soul than to be prepared for eternity.
But have you considered the preparation that is necessary for weekly worship? There is nothing automatic about meaningful worship each Sunday. Pastors must prepare their sermon. Music Directors, choirs, musicians must prepare the music for the worship service. The order of service must be prepared and bulletins have to be printed and folded. Custodians or designated members of the church must prepare the place of worship by cleaning the sanctuary, checking out the sound equipment, arranging the flowers, turning on the lights, adjusting the thermostat to heat or cool and seeing that hymn books and envelopes are in place.
But there is another preparation that I fear is grossly neglected and that is our spiritual preparation for weekly worship. What about anticipating the upcoming worship service and looking forward to it with expectation of what God will reveal to us about himself and what He will say to us? How much time do you spend in thought and prayer preparing your own heart for worship? Do you pray for lives to be saved, changed and motivated to serve God? Do you pray for the Pastor who will deliver the sermon, the choir that will lead in music, and for people who are present, including yourself, to be drawn to a closer walk with the Lord. Our attitude toward worship, the spirit with which we come to a worship service, and the focus of our attention can make all the difference in the world as to whether or not we truly worship when we come into the sanctuary. Do you focus on the words of the hymns, the prayers that are prayed, the message that is delivered or are you distracted by what you are going to do after the service or plans you have for the week or who is present or not present or what they are wearing? The challenge of the Prophet Amos, “Prepare to Meet your God!” applies to weekly worship as well as eternity.
In His Love,