Recently, I put up a Facebook status saying, in essence, how helpful it would be for us to start getting ready for Sunday worship on Saturday evening—and cut down on the TV, Facebook, or other things that distract us from being alert and ready the next morning. I received a lot of interesting feedback.
Yet, it would be good for us to consider some practical ways to prepare ourselves for our times of corporate worship:
- Turn off the television on Saturday evenings! What is there on network television or cable that lifts up the mind to heavenly heights? I struggle with this, especially during football season because ABC usually has a great game on with kickoff at 8:00 p.m. EST. But I must.
- Turn off the computer. So much information, so many helpful (and unhelpful) websites, so many sites that help us network (MySpace, Facebook, Twitter ), means so many ways to distract. Psalm 119:15-16 is a helpful tonic.
- Lay out your clothes and church materials the night before. “What will I wear? What will the kids wear? How about this? No, this doesn’t fit anymore? Where are my/your/their shoes? Oh no, my shirt isn’t ironed!” As a father of four, there is no shortage of things that can deter you from making it to church on time. Take time the night before to lay your clothes and your small children’s clothes out the night before. You will be amazed at the amount of time this saves for Sunday morning (and how much of our attitude is helped by this).
- Take time to pray with your family about the service the next day. Our children (and ourselves, too) need to realize the mammoth importance of corporate worship before God and with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
- Get up at a good hour. If you have to be at morning Bible study at, say, 9:45, and you are married or have children, getting up at 8:30 will not help. Getting up at 8:00 is better. It’s good to leave 30-45 minutes on average for each person in your house (women usually take longer than this, men usually take shorter, along with your children’s dress, the brushing of teeth, the meals, etc.). We have six at our house—so we get up at 6:30-6:45 out of necessity.
- Have some Christian music or some Scripture on. For me, Isaac Watts hymns, Sovereign Grace Music, or even Elvis Presley singing the hymns (yes, you read correctly) help focus the mind. Having the daily Scripture from the ESV site read to me is priceless as well.
- Take time that morning to read through the morning’s sermon Scripture. I post this in our monthly newsletter for this reason—so we may prepare our minds and hearts to receive that Word. Thabiti Anyabwile, pastor of FBC-Grand Cayman, recommends that we spend time each day doing this (Acts 17:10-15—let’s be Bereans!).
- Enter into your morning Bible study expectantly ready to receive the Word. Same with morning worship. Allow nothing to distract you from your time of worship (Psalm 100). Even well-meaning fellowship before the service may distract from our focus and concentration as we ready ourselves to hear God’s revealed Word.
What are some other things that help you?