Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
One way to participate in worship is to join a small group where you can get to know other Christians on a deeper level. But even when you attend a service, you can actively participate in worship. Let me tell you two ways to do that. First of all, prepare yourself for worship. Too many Christians drag themselves into bed Saturday night at some ungodly hour, and on Sunday morning they sit in the pews looking like they are in the third stage of anesthesia. Then after the service they say, “I did not get much out of the message today.” Of course not! We have to be ready. We have to prepare ourselves physically for worship.
In the Old Testament, the Jews’ day of worship did not begin on Saturday morning; it began on Friday evening (Leviticus 23:32). I encourage you to think about your day of worship in a similar way: come in at a decent hour the night before, and be sure you and your family get plenty of rest so you are alert and ready to hear God speak to you.
Also prepare yourself spiritually for worship. If the last thing you dwell on before you go to sleep is the skit from “Saturday Night Live,” you are not going to be thinking holy thoughts. Instead, take a few minutes before you go to bed to read a chapter from God’s Word–maybe the passage that will be the focus of the pastor’s sermon the next day, or maybe a study you are going through on your own. Read a chapter of the Bible, and then as you drift off to sleep, ask God to speak to you the next morning, to tell you what He wants you to change in your life.
Second, make sure your mind is in drive rather than in neutral throughout the service. There was a book that came out years ago entitled “Worship Is a Verb.” That is so true. Worship is something we do, and that means our minds have to stay active. When somebody is praying, make sure you are praying the same thing in your own mind. When singing is going on, use the words of those songs to voice your appreciation to God. When the pastor is preaching, stay involved. Take notes. Ask God to give you insight from His Word.
It was Kierkegaard who said in genuine worship, God is the critical theatergoer, the congregants are the actors, and the pastor is simply the prompter reminding the congregants of their lines. Genuine worship is active, not passive, and participating in corporate worship ought to be a priority for every Christian.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Up With Worship” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.
Soren Kierkegaard, “Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing,” trans. Douglas V. Steere (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1938), 163-4.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.