Week 2 Prepare My Heart for Effective Worship

Week 2 Day 1

Prepare My Heart for Effective Worship

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16

As we seek to worship God in the way he instructs us to worship him, we must remember the foundations of our worship. The Apostle Paul reminds us here that the gospel must dwell in us, only then can we truly worship God.  Jesus is the one that reconciles us to God through his sacrifice on the cross, confirmed by his resurrection. Because we have “confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus” (Heb 10:19), let us worship God!

Our understanding of the gospel is deepened by the teaching of scripture. Music serves as an effective means for learning and remembering the truths of scripture. Psalms are literally the word of God, hymns teach us the truths of God’s word, and spiritual songs allow us to express praise for God and his works. We need a balance of all three to enjoy a healthy spiritual life. So let us “Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150)

Prayer:  Father, thank you for revealing yourself to me through Christ and your written word. Thank you for the gift of music through which I learn of you and give praise to you. May I not be passive in my worship of you or merely guided by my preferences, but rather let me be fully engaged whether alone or with the church of which I am a member.

Write down the name of a song that is meaningful to you, and the reason it is meaningful.

 

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Prepare My Heart for Effective Worship

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1

Prior to trusting Christ for our salvation, we used our bodies to fulfill our own desires doing whatever we thought would make us happy. However, following our salvation through Christ, the Apostle Paul informs us our body “is a temple of the Holy Spirit within us, whom we have from God. We are not our own, for we were bought with a price.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) Therefore, we are “to present our bodies as a living sacrifice.” As the word “sacrifice” indicates, sometimes this may mean restraining ourselves from doing something that we believe will make us happy or insisting on doing things our way rather than His.

The closest parallel to the type of commitment we are making when we present our bodies in this way is that of the traditional wedding vows.  Just as the vows determine all future decisions regarding what the bride and groom will do with their bodies, so our commitment to Christ should as well. This commitment is declared “holy and acceptable to God” and declared as our spiritual act of worship. Yielding our body to Christ is a worship experience each and every day.

Prayer: Father, let me renew my commitment to you each morning that I might be found faithful to you. Looking to the example of Jesus, let me live my life in full submission to your will; that the manner of my life “may be worthy of the gospel of Christ.” (Philippians 1:27-28) Increase the desire of my heart to worship you through every action I take as a display of my deep gratitude for your undeserved mercy and grace.

 

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Prepare My Heart for Effective Worship

“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deut. 6:6-7

One of the ways we prepare our hearts for effective worship is to worship with our family at home. Reading and teaching the scripture in our homes is meant to be normative of God’s people. God, as creator of the world and all that is in it, knew the home was the best place for the teaching of his word and encourages parents to do so diligently, which means with steady, earnest and energetic effort. Thus, we are not surprised to learn it is to be accomplished while we sit in our home, travel together on our way, lie down at night and rise in the morning, virtually all the time, using every opportunity.

An effective way to faithfully engage in family worship is to set aside a consistent time each day to read scripture together and asking questions to ensure everyone understands the text. Follow this with a time of prayer to praise God and intercede for others.  When practiced consistently it helps every family member grow in their understanding of God and how to walk faithfully in their community. It will also begin to reveal God’s activity around you as you see him answer specific prayer requests.

Prayer: Father, you are wise and good. In your wisdom you have determined who my family would be. Show me how to encourage the members of my family to read your word that we might consistently worship you together. May our family worship become a blessing for our community as you begin to work through our prayers of intercession.

What is your prayer for your family?

 

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Prepare My Heart for Effective Worship

“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28-29

In Christ we have become citizens of an eternal kingdom. That is good news! This should produce two things in us: gratefulness and worship. We are grateful because we understand it is not a result of anything we have done or inherently are, but it is solely the result of Christ’s work; as such, we have great security in the grace and mercy of God. This leads us to worship as we realize our king is God himself.

We learn from these verses that our worship must be acceptable, pleasing to God. This knowledge should restrain us from flippant, mindless, routine worship. Instead, we should strive to always be intentional and engaged as we worship with reverence and awe, understanding that our God is a consuming fire. Too often we think of God only in terms that are comfortable to us—loving, merciful, gracious, patient, forgiving—but God is also righteous, just, and holy. Those that have not trusted in Jesus will be consumed by the fire of his judgment. The works of the righteous will be tested by fire, determining if he will receive a reward (1 Cor. 3:12-15).  So let us be careful to offer God acceptable worship deserving of Him.

Prayer: Father, I praise you because you are holy and righteous and just. There is none like you. You alone are worthy of my praise. Jesus said, “the true worshipers will worship you in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). May the Holy Spirit guide me in truth to worship You in an acceptable manner.

 

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Prepare My Heart for Effective Worship

“Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.” 1 Timothy 4:13

We know that “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”. (2 Tim. 3:16)  Consequently, one of the first daily disciplines we need to develop is the systematic reading of God’s word. It is equally important to read it during our corporate worship time.

We are charged here to commit ourselves to the public reading of Scripture. Perhaps you have never thought about how the reading of Scripture is a part of corporate worship. Most of us only experience the reading of the passage the pastor intends to preach that day. We see here however, that the reading of Scripture is integral to our corporate worship. The time spent teaching and preaching the scripture is actually enhanced by the reading of complementary passages that provide greater context or illumination, even more so when reading a mix of up to three passages from the Law, History, the Prophets, Poetry, Gospels, or Epistles. Just as we need a balanced diet from the major food groups in our physical diet, we benefit from the public reading of two to three different sections of God’s word each week.

Prayer: Father, teach me to love Your word more each day. Help me to faithfully “store up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalms 119:11)  Use Your word to encourage me to pursue Godly living.

Write down your favorite Bible verse.

 

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Prepare My Heart for Effective Worship

“And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”” Isaiah 6:5, 7-8

When the Prophet Isaiah entered into the Temple he came into the presence of the Lord. He immediately was conscious of his sin and the sin of his people. All of us have sin in our life. The Apostle John said that to deny this is to deceive ourselves and to make God a liar (1 John 1:8-10). Jesus himself told a parable about a Pharisee and tax collector to illustrate the proper response to sin (Luke 18:9-14): acknowledge our own sin and call upon the mercy of God. We do not compare ourselves to others but see ourselves clearly as we see the Lord of hosts. The good news is that He forgives our sin, and in Christ takes away our sin!

Genuine repentance and forgiveness lead us to respond like Isaiah.  He, upon hearing the request of the Lord, calls out “Here I am! Send me.When we truly worship God we are moved to serve Him. What do you hear him asking? Will you answer like Isaiah, seeking to be the one that God would use to fulfill His mission?

Prayer:  Father, as I see myself in the light of Christ, I am aware of the sin that so easily entangles me. Thank you, Jesus for taking away my sin. By the power of Your Spirit, help me to walk faithfully, to “run with endurance the race that is set before me.” (Heb. 12:1)

 

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Prepare My Heart for Effective Worship

“behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” Revelation 7:9-10

In this great worship scene in heaven, God reveals to us the mystery of the ages fulfilled: He provides salvation not just for the Jews but for all peoples of the world.  There will be representatives from every nation, every tribe, every people, and every language, standing before the throne worshiping Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2). It is a fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) and the promise made to Abraham, “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen. 12:3)

Since we will one day worship Jesus as one people, let us begin now looking around our communities and proclaiming the gospel to the diversity of people living in our own neighborhoods.  Let us seek to have a diverse people gathering together in our churches giving praise to the one who unites all humanity in worship of the one, true God!

Prayer:  Father, forgive me for keeping the gospel to myself and people like me. Give me opportunity to share Your great salvation to those that are different than me - that I might worship you along with them, declaring with the heavenly throng “Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” (Rev. 7:12)

What languages are spoken in my community?

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