PREPARING FOR SUNDAYS
It is not unusual for my wife and I to do something unexpected or unplanned when we’re on a date. Typically, we will go see a movie. Without hesitation and with no preparation, we will search for a movie start time and then show up. Does the lack of preparation impact how much we enjoy the movie? No! We just want to be entertained. Unfortunately, this happens to many of us when we gather on Sunday mornings. The most common mistake we make as believers when it comes to preparing for Sunday gatherings is… well, not preparing!
We live in a society that consumes and enjoys being entertained. Think about it….sporting events, movies, we’ll even go to a restaurant to watch a guy light fire to an onion volcano! Consumerism; it’s all around us. We can’t escape it. So why should we consider going to church on Sundays any different? What if we stopped looking at church service as a sort of entertainment? What if we were willing to change our mindset of only needing to be present? How would this affect us when we gather?
I believe that when we take the time to prepare for anything, the results we experience are much greater. Consider a student who studies and prepares for a test; not only is he more likely to make a better grade than John Doe who played X-Box the whole night before, but he also walks away with confidence and a sense of fulfillment. So what does it look like to prepare for Sunday? This is not a comprehensive list, but here are a few things you can do to prepare yourself for Sunday.
Before you leave home or while you drive to church pray for the service and your part in the service. Pray for the musicians and singers. Pray for the speaker. Pray for the volunteers working that day. Pray that God would prepare your heart to receive what He has for you and that you can also contribute to the atmosphere of the service in a positive way. Prayer is some of the best preparation we can have for Sunday.
While driving to church listen to worship music. This is a great way to set your heart and mind for how you are getting ready to participate. If your mind is focused more clearly on God prior to arriving, it is easier to focus on Him once you arrive.
Our mind is only able to focus on limited things at one time. Since you need to focus as much as possible on worship on Sunday, eliminate as many thinking tasks before Sunday. Choose your clothes the night before and lay them out. This will help remove the temptation on Sunday of being frustrated with “nothing to wear” when you open your closet. If you have children, do this for them as well. Decide where you are going to eat for lunch the night before. Any Sunday decisions that you can make before Sunday will free your heart and mind to focus on the most important things on Sunday.
This should be a daily routine. Take time to read your bible, a devotional or listen to a message every day. It doesn’t have to be very long. It is just an effort on your part to seek God. If you are seeking Him daily, it will be much easier for you to see and hear from him everyday and especially on Sunday. We are promised that God will come near to us as we come near to Him.
This is a post-service act that becomes pre-service preparation. If you take time when you leave each Sunday to ask “What is God saying to me” and “What am I going to do about it”, it will change the direction of your week. As you listen and act on what you heard the previous week, the more likely your heart is to be receptive when you arrive the next week.
Commit to doing your part to make the service the best it can be. It may be volunteering in a specific role. It may include singing during the music time or taking notes during the sermon. It certainly includes some of the previous things we can do. Everything is better when we are committed to making it the best it can possibly be. Sunday is no different.
Sunday’s are not more perfect than any other day. But we usually get out of it what we are willing to put into it. Contributing on Sunday is not just putting money in the offering. It is giving yourself in worship to God to become exactly what He desires.When we all take the time to prepare and contribute our part, Sunday’s are great!