Prepare

worship

Saturday and Sunday is upon us. Most people are rushing home after work to enjoy the start of another weekend. To enjoy spending time with family and friends. To find time to veg out and not have to worry about specific schedules again until Monday. Then there are many people who try to fill up as much of the weekend as possible to do things and run errands that there was not enough time for during the week.

We all are excited about time to spend without the demands of work and people constantly expecting certain results from us. One of the things that begins to happen is a busy weekend that simply “includes” going to church instead of making it a priority.

For those of you who are religious, Saturday or Sunday is a time when we gather at our church, supposed to be praising God and lifting the name of Jesus Christ while living in and listening to the Holy Spirit. Many people (including me some weekends) have turned our time of worshipping Jesus Christ into another to do list item to simply check off and then go about our day.

I believe we are all challenged to look at church another way. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, would begin preparing for Sunday worship on Thursday. This may make some people nervous thinking, “I just don’t have that kind of time to prepare.”

With the business of our schedules day in day out, week in week out, year in year out, we all should look at how we prioritize our schedules. Now, I do not presume to know, nor am I trying to judge or condemn people here in any way. I simply hope to encourage each one of us as we walk with Jesus Christ and allow him to transform our hearts which has a direct affect on our lives.

So, here are some questions I invite you to consider:

  • Why do I attend church? Is it for me and my inspiration? Or is it truly for God and allowing my heart an opportunity to hear from God and become recharged with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit?
  • How often do I pray for the worship time, church leadership, and the church as a whole?
  • How much time do I spend reading the Bible along with other sacred writings or devotionals during the week?
  • How is God moving in my life and through my life to make a difference in my community, state, nation, world?

These questions may be a little convicting; I know they are for me.

My prayer for each one of us is that we allow God is make himself known so that we can see the world through his eyes and allow our hearts to break for what breaks his heart. Let’s all take some time to prepare ourselves for the literal presence of God when we gather for worship.*

*On a quick side note: worship can be done anywhere, even during your personal quiet times with God.

Journaling In Our Prayer Life

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This prayer exercise is a great tool to use to remember to see how God is working in our lives, answering prayer, or guiding us through situations. This is not like a diary; but how God has been communicating to us.
INTENTION: To keep a record of communication with God.
THE EXERCISE:
  • Decide how you want to keep this journal. You may purchase a blank book or use loose-leaf paper held in a ringed notebook.
  • Decide how often you will make notations in your journal. You may want to record insights from other prayer practices or write your prayers in the journal or both. Some people even keep notes from their dreams in their journal. It’s a book that belongs to you and God. Do with it what feels best.
  • Begin by asking God to be present and alive in this journal-keeping experience.
  • To explore spiritual growth based on events in your life, write about a significant event or happening in your daily life.
    • How do you feel about that event?
    • Where was God at work in the event?
    • Where is God leading me now as a result of this event?
    • How do my feelings change as I view the event in the light of God’s love?
  • To notice how God is active in your life, review your journal at regular intervals.
    • What patterns or common themes do you notice?
    • How does God get your attention?
    • How has God answered your prayers?
    • Assess how your relationship with God is emerging.
  • Make notations about any common themes or patterns.
  • Close each journal session with a prayer of gratitude.

TIP: Even if you feel you are not a writer, give this exercise a try. This is a prayer exercise, not a writing exercise. No one but you has to see what you’ve written. Even if you share journal findings with a group, it matters little how you wrote what you discovered. Share it in your own words instead of reading it from the page.

~Taken from the book 50 Ways to Pray: Practices from Many Traditions and Times by Teresa A. Blythe