It is critical that each Sunday morning we come prepared to worship God. Of course, Sunday morning is not the only time we worship God, but there is something special about corporate worship which is why our preparation is vital. Here are some practical suggestions I came across in a sermon John Piper preached almost 20 years ago, on September 22, 1991. His text was Amos 4:4-13 and the title of the sermon was Prepare to Meet Your God.
1. Begin Orienting Your Heart on Saturday Night
Set aside some time Saturday night to begin the orientation onto worship. Turn off the television and set your mind on things that above with the word of God and a time of prayer.
2. Go to Bed Early
Go to bed early enough so that you are fresh and emotionally alive Sunday morning. The price of late night movies or parties on Saturday will be powerless worship Sunday morning.
3. Get Up Early Enough on Sunday
Get up in time Sunday so that you do not have to rush to get to church, but have a little time to be alone with God and ask his blessing on you and your family and on the church. I can almost promise you that your depth of communion with God in the service will be directly proportionate to the way you have sought the Lord for his blessing Saturday night and Sunday morning. This will take some discipline and some planning. But you will probably never turn back once you taste the fruit.
4. Begin Seeking God as Soon as You Enter
When you come into the sanctuary, begin to seek the Lord. That means that by and large there will be a holy hush across the sanctuary. But it will be a very different kind of stillness than the awkward silence before a Sunday School class where you want everyone to mill around and talk and nobody is. There is a world of difference. And the difference will be made and felt by whether hundreds of you are really going hard after God, or just politely waiting for the show to begin. You will make the difference in those minutes as to whether a visitor senses cool distance or the reality of God. The very point of those moments of going hard after God is that this room will be filled with the power of God. The goal of those moments is not that people will be impressed with us—either our piety or our friendliness – but that they will fall on their face and say, “God is in this place.” And that will only happen if people are taken up with God.
If you want your friendship to go deep with someone, I invite you to make an experiment. As you enter the sanctuary talking, and the prelude begins, try saying this: “Let’s finish this discussion after the service. I think John needs our prayers. Let’s do battle for him.” My wager is; that camaraderie in the warfare of prayer will take your friendship deeper than another five minutes of conversation.
5. Become the Actor in Worship
Finally, before every act of worship, whether a hymn or a reading or a prayer or an anthem or a moment of silence or a sermon, say to Lord, “Lord, I come. I come to sing to you. I come to pray to you. I come to listen to your Word. I come to enjoy your presence.” Don’t drift through the service as though the action is on the platform. Become the actor. The greatest action in worship is when a heart that is far from the Lord draws near to the Lord, and focuses on him and desires him and trusts him and enjoys him.