Have you ever prepared for church?
I mean beyond just showering and getting ready to go to the building. I’m talking about actually preparing yourself spiritual for church?
I know this sounds a little odd because church we think church is where we go to so God can prepare us for the week. As if church was a spiritual gas station and our attendance allows us to pull up to the Pump for a top off before we hit the open road called “the rest of our week”.
But what if I challenged you and I to do something different this weekend? What if we prepared for church like we would a presentation at work, test at school, or a daily schedule for the kids? What if we put effort into preparing our hearts and souls for what God would teach us when we got to Church and not what we got leaving it?
It’s easier than you think! Here are 5 easy ways to prepare for church this Sunday.
1. Pray – The best way to begin any encounter with God is by praying. In Psalm 139:23 we read, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Begin your preparation for Sunday by simply asking God to search your heart in anticipation that He will meet you in those anxious moments during your worship experience and direct you closer to Him.
2. Read – If you know what will be talked about at service, read the text that will be talked about. If you are starting a new series or aren’t sure what the pastor will be teaching on, look back at last week’s message text and remind yourself of what God has already taught you. Spend time in God’s word to focus your attention back to His truth before you even get to church.
3. Rest – Whether you worship on Saturday or Sunday the night before can be very important. If you are out late the night before or if you are always thinking about work you never are finding true rest. Psalm 143:8 tells us “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” Get good rest the night before church so you can be fresh and attentive to what God wants you to hear in the message. Turn your brain off from the outside so you can fully take in God’s direction and love for you.
4. Plan – One of the most common distractions for people coming to church is rushing. Leaving the house late, getting stopped by all the red lights, and the line at the coffee shop are all common excuses for why people run into church out of breath. If you were leaving for a vacation you wouldn’t pack the morning of so don’t prepare for church the morning of. Take time to have things laid out for the kids and even consider showing up to church early! You’ll be surprised that there is cool stuff that happens before the sermon starts too. J
5. Invite – One of the best ways to prepare for church is to invite someone to come with you. By stepping out of your comfort zone and saying “Hey, why don’t I meet you for the 11:00 am service this Sunday?” you have made a huge step in preparing for Sunday. We then naturally will pray for them to show up, look at our Bible to atleast get the dust off it J, get good rest so we don’t oversleep, and plan ahead so we aren’t late meeting them. Additionally, you listen more intently to the messages when you invited someone because you will certainly want to talk about what they thought afterwards.
Now I know that having an encounter with God can and does happen outside the walls of the church. I get it and you are right.
However there are powerful things that happen on Sunday’s too. I want all of us, me included, to experience them as often as we can. I think by taking time to think about these 5 things we put ourselves in a better position to receive what God has in store when we come into His presence.
So take 5 this weekend and see if you don’t get more out of your Sunday experience.