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Preparing for worship

An old adage says that what we get out of something equals the effort we put into it. The saying holds true for many things, including worship. Obviously, those who lead worship — the preacher, lector, musicians — spend time and effort in preparation. But what about those who sit in the pews? Unlike athletic events and concerts, worship is not a performance we observe. Worship is a service we all perform. How do you prepare for this most important service to God?
A good way to prepare for Sunday worship is by praying throughout the week. Specifically, I suggest that you pray each day:
• For the preacher, that the Holy Spirit would guide him or her in selecting scripture, studying it and preparing a sermon that would truly say what God would have your preacher say; that the Spirit would lead him or her in planning the liturgy so that your worship would truly praise God.
• For the organist, choir, praise band and other musicians, that their music would give God glory.
• For the lector, that his or her prayers would truly be your words to God, and the reading of scripture would truly be God’s word to your congregation.
• For the congregation — for the leaders you and God have chosen, that God would guide them; for those with special needs, that God would comfort, encourage and heal them; for those who are in some way a challenge to you, that God might provide for and help them.
• For yourself, that God would open your eyes and ears, mind and heart to the word God would speak to you. Toward the end of the week, many preachers post their scripture passage and sermon title on a church Facebook page, website or marquee outside the church. Check for it and read the passage each day between when it is posted and Sunday, asking God to speak to you through it.
If you put effort into preparing for worship with prayer, you will “get more out of it” than you ever imagined.
The Rev. Dr. Barrie Miller Kirby is pastor of Spencer Presbyterian Church.

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