Good Friday morning!
As another weekend approaches, opportunities for public, gathered worship will once again lie before us. As you think about worshiping this weekend, challenge yourself in the following areas:
- Come with expectations.
Ask God to do work in your life, meeting specific needs. Ask God to work in your family, addressing needs in your marriage, children, or parenting. Ask God to work in your church family. Approach Sunday hoping and praying to see God work in people's lives. Expect growth in your knowledge of God and His Word. Come to church wondering what God might do for you or someone else!
- Pray with a sense of urgency.
What if the Holy Spirit uses something spoken from God's Word to convict someone of sin, leading them to repentance and restoration before God? What if someone considering suicide sees the joy with which we worship and receives affirmation their life has value? What if God jolts those drifting toward doubt or hopelessness back into fresh and vibrant living for Him? What if each of us opened our heart to what God had for us and begged Him to speak truth into areas of specific or desperate need?
- Pray to meet someone new.
I fully believe God can prompt people to attend a public gathering which can lead to salvation and healthy connection to a local church. Why don't we pray as the weekend approaches that we would meet someone new and offer to answer any questions they might have about God or the church?
- Pray for discernment.
Not everyone who may come to church has the best in mind. Not everything in the service or sermon will speak directly to your situation. Pray God will help you discern the challenges a Sunday can bring. Pray God will help you know when to listen and know when to do battle for others.
- Pray for your leaders.
Yes, it felt a bit selfish to write this one. But, as a leader I know that I and many others don't just magically show up and make Sunday happen. Preparation happens. Spiritual warfare happens. Distractions pile up. Pray for those who will lead you, from musicians to pastors to teachers. Pray God will bring great focus and encouragement to them as they serve and lead.
I know someone on Twitter who regularly posts on Saturday how Sunday worship is a Saturday decision. The same could be said for those who worship on Saturdays. At some point, we must decide to attend worship and prepare ourselves and our families for that. I'd like to challenge you to evaluate what your last hours of Saturday night bring. What routines do you have in place to ensure (as best you can) a smooth Sunday morning? Preparing ahead of time can make sure you arrive on time and make the most of service and sermon.
- Finally, how about focusing on encouragement?
What if we focused on how God was moving in our lives, how He spoke to us or how we saw Him working in someone else specifically? What if we spoke direct words of encouragement to people who attended and asked how we could pray for them? What if, before we complained about what we didn't like or who wasn't there or what so and so was doing that distracted us, we praised God for His people and His Word and all the blessings and encouragements offered in the course of our time together? If we did that, perhaps all the dislikes and distractions might not seem so important?