WORSHIP BEGINS IN THE HEART…
NOT THE LIPS
Pastor Mike Andrews
Steps to prepare for authentic worship….
Internal preparation of heart......Every child of God carries the responsibility for personal preparation of his/her heart. If God calls us to worship him “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24), then we must constantly ask questions about the state of our spirit and readiness of our hearts. We have an obligation to do a spiritual check list over our own lives. A great place to do that is found in (Gal 5:22-23). Where do I need to change in order to exemplify these fruits in my life and in the body of Christ? Self-examination is vital part of the Christian life: Psalm 139:23-24; Job13:23; 2 Cor 13:5; Luke 15:17-24; 1 Cor 11:27-31; Matt 7:5. God promises that if we are willing to admit that we have been walking our own way and ask for His forgiveness and cleansing, He will empower us through His Spirit to live above ourselves and live the abundant life for which He has created us. (I John 1:5-10)
Pre-arrival preparation......We can learn from the Jews who believe the Sabbath begins at sundown the evening before. So our Saturday night and Sunday morning activities before we gather have a formative affect, positively or negatively, on our readiness for worship. What are you doing Saturday night to prepare your heart for worship? Is it! Listening to sermons, reading the passage we are studying next on Sunday. Memorizing your verses, praying for the church family and your pastor. Are you coming with a readiness of excitement to study the Scriptures? (Acts 17:11)
Pre-service preparation.......That short period of time between our arrival at church and the beginning of the worship service is also critical. How we interact with others reminds us that we are here as part of a body. Intentionally quieting our spirits before the service begins will also enable us to set distractions aside and again focus our corporate attention on God. For this one purpose! Rev 4:11; 1 Tim 1;17; Psalm 18:3; Rev 5:1-12. And since worship does not start when we enter the worship service, it should not stop when we leave.
Post-service continuation.......Worship should continue as we leave the service. Rev 4:8; Heb 13:15; Acts 16:25-26. It can happen in our homes, and through our work. It can’t be contained in a single location, context, culture, style, artistic expression or vehicle of communication. So it doesn’t matter how good our worship is when we gather, it is incomplete until it continues when we scatter.
R C Sproul said “The worship to which we are called in our renewed state is far too important to be left to personal preferences, whims, or marketing strategies. Pleasing God is at the heart of worship. Therefore, our worship must be informed at every point by the Word of God as we seek God’s own instructions for worship that is pleasing to Him.”
“The best public worship is that which produces the best private Christianity. The best Church Services for the congregation are those which make its individual members most holy at home and alone. If we want to know whether our own public worship is doing us good, let us try it by these tests. Does it quicken our conscience? Does it send us to Christ? Does it add to our knowledge? Does it sanctify our life? If it does, we may depend on it, it is worship of which we have no cause to be ashamed.”
Prayer: A Discourse with God
by R.C. Sproul
One of the great themes of the Reformation was the idea that all of life is to be lived under the authority of God, to the glory of God, in the presence of God. Prayer is not simply a soliloquy, a mere exercise in therapeutic self-analysis, or a religious recitation. Prayer is discourse with the personal God Himself. There, in the act and dynamic of praying, I bring my whole life under His gaze. Yes, He knows what is in my mind, but I still have the privilege of articulating to Him what is there. He says: “Come. Speak to me. Make your requests known to me.” So we come in order to know Him and to be known by Him.
There is something erroneous in the question, “If God knows everything, why pray?” The question assumes that prayer is one-dimensional and is defined simply as supplication or intercession. On the contrary, prayer is multidimensional. God’s sovereignty casts no shadow over the prayer of adoration. God’s foreknowledge or determinate counsel does not negate the prayer of praise. The only thing it should do is give us greater reason for expressing our adoration for who God is. If God knows what I’m going to say before I say it, His knowledge, rather than limiting my prayer, enhances the beauty of my praise.
Prayer is discourse with the personal God Himself.
My wife and I are as close as two people can be. Often I know what she’s going to say almost before she says it. The reverse is also true. But I still like to hear her say what is on her mind. If that is true of man, how much more true is it of God? We have the matchless privilege of sharing our innermost thoughts with God. Of course, we could simply enter our prayer closets, let God read our minds, and call that prayer. But that’s not communion and it’s certainly not communication.
We are creatures who communicate primarily through speech. Spoken prayer is obviously a form of speech, a way for us to commune and communicate with God. There is a certain sense in which God’s sovereignty should influence our attitude toward prayer, at least with respect to adoration. If anything, our understanding of God’s sovereignty should provoke us to an intense prayer life of thanksgiving. Because of such knowledge, we should see that every benefit, every good and perfect gift, is an expression of the abundance of His grace. The more we understand God’s sovereignty, the more our prayers will be filled with thanksgiving.
In what way could God’s sovereignty negatively affect the prayer of contrition, of confession? Perhaps we could draw the conclusion that our sin is ultimately God’s responsibility and that our confession is an accusation of guilt against God Himself. Every true Christian knows that he cannot blame God for his sin. I may not understand the relationship between divine sovereignty and human responsibility, but I do realize that what stems from the wickedness of my own heart may not be assigned to the will of God. So we must pray because we are guilty, pleading the pardon of the Holy One whom we have offended.
Editor’s Note: This post is an excerpt from the book, Does Prayer Change Things? in the Crucial Questions series by R.C. Sproul.
Our ultimate desire at Calvary Baptist Church is first and foremost to bring glory and praise to the Sovereign LORD [Father, Son, & Holy Spirit] and to raise up mature believers so that we can fulfill the Great Commission. We will seek to achieve this by following the guidelines that God has put in place for prayer, worship, communion, Christian fellowship, Bible Study, and most of all the expository teaching of God’s Word. We desire to provide the proper teaching of God’s Word so that fellow believers can grow together and edify one another with love and compassion.
Please come join us,
as we look into how God has composed a unique story
for each of our lives.
CBC is a place to call home as we ......
Magnify the Lord, Mature the Believers,
Make prayer a priority, Meet the lost with Christ
YES....Church Service Time @ 9:25am
Masks must be worn at all times.
No.... Sunday School @ 10:45am (for all ages)
Yes....Junior Church is provided at this time during the message.
No....Weekly Adult Bible Study: Ladies Tuesday Nights & Mens Wednesday nights @ 7pm
We are located @
148 Queen Street,