Day 37: We’re Created to Worship Together — By Preparing for Worship

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Point to Ponder: When we worship with an unprepared heart, we sin.
Verse to Remember: “Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure.” — Psalm 24:3-4,6 (NLT)
Question to Consider: What can you do to prepare yourself for corporate worship this weekend?
[Read More] thoughts on Day 37 of Rick Warren’s 40 Days of Community, about the perils of a cluttered mind and divided heart.

This one hits close to home. I might say that my body and soul are always ready to worship, but my heart and mind are not. Rick’s first prayer needs to be mine:

I’m coming to focus on you, God, not anything else. Help me clear my mind and worship you with an undivided heart. I desire to come wholeheartedly into your presence (Psalm 86:11).

I’ve always been in alignment with his other two thoughts: that we need to i) confess our sins and ii) walk in harmony with our brothers and sisters: I’ve skipped Communion more than once in order to “first be reconciled with my brother” (usually, sister :-). But, especially since joining more worship-oriented churches after getting married, I’ve really struggled with a cluttered mind and divided heart.

Our corporate worship is really an extension of our daily walk with God.
When working at a mission hospital in Swaziland in 1988, my family was loaned an old car with the peculiar property that the engine would keep running even after the ignition key was removed (or fell out). My mind is like that: rather than being invoked as needed, it keeps on running, even when I’d rather it not (like when I’m trying to get to sleep). Thus (sadly) my problems in corporate worship are the same ones that stifle my regular devotional life.

Preparing for worship means we slow down, turn away from ourselves, and begin meditating on what God has done for us.

Interesting, that seems to be the only thing that helps: meditating or praying directly to God. A simple act of my will isn’t enough to quiet my mind. Like in so much of life — perhaps all — I lack the power to implement sufficient change on my own. The only answer is a continuous, vital, nurturing connection with God Himself. Which is to say, worship: the very thing I struggle with.

Ouch.

Prayer: Father, I believe; help my unbelief. God, I want to live a life centered on you and your reality. I want to cleanse my mind and prepare my heart to receive you — and give to you — and worship. Alas, I’ve given my mind free reign most of my life, like a lecher does to his flesh, and it balks at your yoke. Father, reign on me. Impose your will over mine. My spirit and my flesh cry out for you, and my heart and my soul bow before you; teach my mind to join them, as you reveal your glory and your power. Help me. Please. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

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