Preparing For Worship

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It is once again time to prepare our hearts for worship. We are preparing our hearts to meet God in public worship. John Piper says: “There is a heart preparation to be done in order to meet God.” Why is it so important to prepare our hearts for worship? Well, Jesus said: “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:8). All of us have probably been guilty of honoring the Lord with our lips when our hearts have been far from Him. So, as we prepare for worship we need to do some spiritual inventory on our hearts. Are our hearts far from the Lord? Whatever we may find when we do spiritual inventory, we all need to be closer to the Lord. We all may be different distances from the Lord, but those distances are not measured in inches or miles. John Piper says those distances are measured in the following five ways:

“It is measured with the tape of attention—you may not even be thinking of God Saturday night or Sunday morning. So your heart is far from him measured by attention.”

“Or it may be measured by the tape of focus—you may have some attention on God but it is broken up by other things and there is no focused attention that gets God clearly in view and makes him the primary object of attention.”

“It is measured by the tape of desire—you may feel little desire for God but be very much caught up in a greater desire for sports or finances or a trip to the lake, while the desire and the longing for God is weak by comparison.”

“Or it can be measured by the tape of trust and hope—your trust in God may be weak and your hope faint and wavering.”

“Or it may be measured by the tape of delight or joy in God—you may feel much more pleasure Saturday night in a late movie than in meeting God in the morning.”

Piper goes on to say that: “Every one of us is far from where we want to be on one of these measuring tapes every week.” So, all of us are far from where we want to be on some of these measuring tapes that Piper listed. So, how do we draw closer to God in these areas? As we think over these measuring tapes, I think a good place to start is prayer. Let’s start with the first one. As we think over the first measuring tape we realize that our heart is far from God measured by attention. We have thought about seeing friends at church or we have thought about what we are going to have for lunch or a hundred other things, but we haven’t thought much about God. So, we just go to the throne of grace and plead with God to help us reorient our hearts on Him. We would pray something like: “Lord forgive me for being so focused on other things this morning, forgive me for being so consumed with the things of this world. Lord draw my heart closer to you, help me to reorient my heart on You. Draw me closer to you and stir up my affections for you Lord.”

Let’s take the third measuring tape. As we think over this one we realize that our hearts are caught up in a greater desire for something other than God. So, again we pray something like this. “Lord forgive me for having a greater desire for sports (or politics, or whatever it may be) this weekend than for You. Father as I consider these measuring tapes I am reminded of the song that says: “No day of my life has passed that has not proved me guilty in your sight. The best I have to offer are these filthy rags.” Lord I am a great sinner and every day proves me guilty in your sight, and yet you love me! Father help me to live my life in light of the gospel. Help me to be able to truthfully say what the Psalmist says: “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Let’s be sure and pray for Ian and Erin who will lead us in worship. Let’s also lift up Jerry who will lead us in a time of confession, and let’s pray for Mark who will open up God’s Word to us. Mark will be preaching on Genesis 40. The link to the ESV text is below:

Genesis 40

Picture from here

 

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