The Westminster Confession also advocates daily worship in the context of the family. This is a tremendous opportunity to lead our children, who often need special guidance to prepare for worship on Sunday. If you know the passage beforehand, you may read and explain the sermon text in advance of the service. Some churches publish the hymns for the upcoming service several days in advance to allow people to prepare for worship. This is especially beneficial for children, who may be unfamiliar with the tunes and lyrics. Worshiping as a family with an intentional focus on the Lord’s Day may draw each person closer to the Lord individually. That is because these contexts are connected to one another. Public worship guides secret and family worship while secret and family worship lead to public worship. Indeed, these are important spiritual ways in which we may prepare for public worship.
There are yet other, perhaps mundane, ways that we may prepare. We all know what it is like to try to finish errands at the last minute. It does not put us in a worshipful frame of mind. We should organize our affairs well in advance, knowing that our lifestyle choices may affect us on Sunday. If we stay up late on Saturday, we may not be alert and prepared to worship. Whatever we do throughout the week, our choices should be made so as not to provide a hindrance to worship.
On the Lord’s Day
While we should prepare for corporate worship Monday through Saturday, we may continue to prepare effectively on Sunday. One practical way to prepare is by waking early so as not to be in a hurry. Leave enough time to get ready at home and to arrive at the church in advance of the service.
When you arrive, take the time to greet other people (1 Peter 5:14). Corporate worship is the gathering of God’s people to worship as a body, not a collection of people individually engaging in secret worship. Remember why you have assembled. Even as you greet others, direct your thoughts toward worship, not on the events of the past week. While it may be tempting to catch up with friends, your thoughts should be focused primarily on serving the Lord and encouraging others in worship.
As you become situated before the service, you may continue preparing in more immediate spiritual ways. Many churches will have a prelude before the call to worship. This is an excellent time to meditate on the text that is to be preached. Contemplate what you have studied throughout the week and apply God’s Word to your life. Take this time also to pray to the Lord, asking Him to calm your heart and mind and to bless the ministry of Word and sacrament.
Preparing for worship may prove to be a great challenge. We are weak, frail, and affected by sin. It is all the more important that we discipline ourselves to overcome these influences. If worship on the Lord’s Day remains just another entry on the schedule, we will struggle to enjoy it. But if our lives are oriented around worship, we may experience a greater joy in gathering to worship the one true and living God.